Philip Morris International commits to purchase Tanzanian tobacco as production expands

Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe addresses media editors at State House in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, February 22, 2024. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

Dar es Salaam. Global tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI) is set to acquire a minimum of 12,000 tonnes of Tanzanian tobacco annually for the next five years as local production is anticipated to grow.

PMI had halted its purchase of local produce since 2017, as stated by the Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe, who added that its return is expected to bolster the market for Tanzanian tobacco.

State House spokesperson Zuhura Yunus reported on Thursday, February 22, 2024, that Mr Scott Coutts, the PMI senior vice president for operations, met with President Samia Suluhu Hasan during a recent visit to the Vatican, where they discussed the company's plans.

Ms Yunus, briefing about President Hassan’s visit to Vatican and Norway last week, stated that the company assured its commitment to purchasing local tobacco as it establishes a new cigarette factory in Morogoro.

Detailing the company's plans for the Tanzanian tobacco industry, Mr Bashe explained that PMI will procure a minimum of 12,000 tonnes of processed tobacco annually for the next five years.

“The company has partnered with another firm in Tanzania to build a cigarette factory in Morogoro, and we hope it will commence operations towards the end of this year,” said Mr Bashe.

Mr Bashe highlighted that Tanzanian tobacco production has been on the rise in recent years, reaching 120,000 tonnes in the last season, with projections aiming for 200,000 tonnes in the current season.

More agricultural benefits

Regarding the visit to Norway, Ms Yunus mentioned that three agreements were signed to support the Tanzanian agriculture sector. The agreements include food security, with both countries agreeing that the financing of agriculture by Norwegian donors will align with Tanzania's priorities.

The Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) is also set to benefit from Sh2 billion in grants which aim to fund soil analysis projects to enhance productivity.