Mugabe warns tobacco farmers against deforestation
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has threatened to ban tobacco production if the indiscriminate cutting down of trees by Zimbabwe's poorly resourced indigenous farmers continues.
In his Independence Day speech weekend, Mugabe said tobacco growers were causing desertification by cutting down trees for their treatment of the golden leaf.
“Our people are growing tobacco and want to make money out of it but on the down side we have seen massive deforestation leading to desertification in some areas. We are saying to them, ‘use coal or we will stop tobacco production’,” he said.
Zimbabwe has in the past decade seen an increase in the number of tobacco growers, thanks to government’s land reform programme.
But the poorly resourced black farmers, who are former workers of the previous white land owners, have turned to forests in their bid to treat the highly rewarding produce, causing an environmental disaster in the process.