Tobacco plantations in Zimbabwe: Government promises more commitment to combat child labor and deforestation


Africa Express,
April 29, 2022

At the end of March, the auction auctions opened of tobacco leaves in Zimbabwe, one of the largest producers in the world.

This year, the government has promised greater commitment in the fight against child labor and deforestation, following pressure from international traders and operators in the sector, who asked Harare to produce products that protect both minors and the environment.

Tobacco plantation in Zimbabwe

In a 2018 report, Human Rights Watch he condemned the exploitation of minors in tobacco plantations. The dossier highlighted that the children were at serious risk to their health because they were exposed to nicotine and toxic pesticides. Many minors have complained of nicotine poisoning symptoms from dealing with tobacco leaves. The very young, according to HRW, were forced to work under conditions that were detrimental to personal health and safety, and also to take valuable time away from their school.

Zimbabwe’s law provides for integration into the world of work From the age of 16 onwards, however, the very young can not perform dangerous jobs until they reach the majority age. Pity that the legislature failed to include the manipulation of tobacco leaves in the list of occupations at risk.

Deforestation, which has reached between 15 and 20 percent annually, is due to the small tobacco farmers who do not have the financial means to buy charcoal or connect to electricity for dry tobacco leaves. To overcome this, they continue to cut down trees in the forests near their small plantations, and burn them ready to dehydrate the precious harvest.

Harare authorities have recently launched a forestry campaign, which provides farmers with a certain number of pieces of wood planted in their areas to create new forests.

Africa Express
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