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Tobacco sales boost home industries

Tobacco sales boost
Recent spending sprees by tobacco farmers resulted in a financial windfall for home industry operators in Glen View.
The Glen View industry has become one of the largest household furniture complexes in the country, as most families resort to cheaper options.

The industry was formalised eight years ago after the government initiated Operation Murambatsvina.

Albert Munemo, a kitchen unit-maker, said the influx of farmers bringing the crop to auction floors had resulted in an upsurge in business.

He, however, said since the decline in tobacco deliveries, business was slowing down.

“Business is very slow now. Maybe people have no money, but we benefited from tobacco farmers. Now they are gone,” Munemo said.

At least 124,8 million kg of flue-cured tobacco have so far been sold generating $464 million in the process.

Munemo said operating business in the current economy was a challenge, given the limited funding opportunities to resuscitate businesses.

“At the moment it’s taking up to three weeks to sell a product,” Munemo said.

Munemo learnt the trade from his uncle and before long, he started making his own furniture.

He said carpenters had pinned their hopes on cotton farmers as well, but the market was offering them peanuts.

“If we are able to access loans, we will be able to produce products at a larger scale,” he said.
Another furniture maker Tendai Madzinga said sells had recently declined as only a handful of tobacco farmers visited their area.

“We made brisk business during that time, but now we only make reasonable sales when civil servants have been paid,” he said.

Madzinga said there were big companies seeking to buy furniture in large quantities, but the proceeds were usually too low to make a meaningful profit.

“The major challenge that is crippling our businesses from growing is little access to funding. If only we could be assisted, then the manufacturing industry would grow,” he said.

However, Gift Mariketi expressed satisfaction at the level of business, as he indicated he was managing to earn a decent living.

“When business is good we can sell up to five sets a day,” he said.

Mariketi said the business had potential to manufacture more furniture, but poor funding remained the major challenge.

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