Demand for coal increases
COAL producer Makomo Resources is seeking to increase output to more than 300 000 tonnes per month to meet growing domestic demand mainly by small-scale tobacco farmers.
This emerged during the company’s eighth anniversary at its Hwange plant, where Mrs Monica Chinamasa, who is chairperson of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), was guest of honour. In her address, she said demand for coal by small-scale tobacco farmers was projected to rise to 250 000 tonnes in five years. Makomo Resources only produces about 120 000 tonnes monthly.
“It’s important to note that coal is no longer only used in the generation of power as it has become the preferred source of energy in curing tobacco.
“The future of tobacco industry heavily depends on producing tobacco in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner hence the campaigns to encourage farmers to use coal instead of firewood to cure the golden leaf,” said Mrs Chinamasa.
She said Makomo Resources was key to the country’s energy sector hence TIMB was open to partnerships with the mining company.
“The demand for coal will steadily increase as more and more small-scale farmers use coal to cure their tobacco as opposed to firewood.
“In five years the demand will rise from the current 120 000 tonnes to 250 000 tonnes,” said Mrs Chinamasa.
She said the small-scale tobacco farming sector was growing and her organisation was encouraging the new farmers to use coal to curb deforestation.
According to TIMB, there are now 140 894 tobacco farmers compared to just 2 000 commercial farmers before the land reform programme.
In 2017-2018 farming season, tobacco farmers produced a total of 252 million kgs of tobacco worth more than $700 million.
Makomo Resources technical services and processing manager Mr Steve Carinus said the company was working on increasing production to 300 000 tonnes per month in order to meet the increased demand for the mineral.
“Safety has been very good which contributed to some of the successes you have heard today.
“We’re doing well and a lot of maintenance is going on as we are looking at upping our game and increasing volumes from the current 120 000 tonnes per month to 300 000 tonnes per month,” he said.
The celebrations saw 95 workers receiving long service awards. — @ncubeleon