Limbe Leaf Tobacco Company Limited has embarked on a large scale commercial forestry plantation on four leased farms in Kasungu district to support its production of flue cured tobacco.
Meanwhile, Vice President Saulos Chilima and Minister of Energy, Mining and Environmental Affairs Bright Msaka are today expected to tour the plantation.
The company has already planted over one million trees since March 2015 to support flue cured smallholder tobacco production with an investment of K1.2 billion.
The initiative is to complement the company’s established and extensive smallholder forestry programme where contracted growers plant trees every year.
Limbe Leaf Forestry Manager, Lloyd Barker said in an interview that the company is managing tree production intensively by applying fertiliser and herbicides and expects full harvesting of the first cycle of trees in 2020.
“About 1.1 million trees have been planted to date, comprising of eucalyptus and indigenous species. Another 500,000 trees will be planted on the plantation annually,” said Barker.
“We have a bamboo trial underway and we hope that by 2022, the plantation will amount to 2,300 hectares of high yielding trees,” said Barker.
Currently, about 250 people are employed from surrounding communities, with a supporting complement of infrastructure and machinery and the company expects to harvest around 25,000 tonnes per annum to cater for some of its flue-cured tobacco production.
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