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Nedbank’s Zimbabwe Unit to Lend $65 Million to Tobacco Farmers

March 1 (Bloomberg) -- MBCA Bank Ltd., a unit of South Africa’s Nedbank Group Ltd., will lend $65 million to Zimbabwean tobacco farmers this year, spokeswoman Dedrey Mutimutema said.

“These lines of credit have been structured in such a manner that they will fund the entire value chain in the production of green-leaf tobacco,” Mutimutema said in an e-mailed statement from Harare, the capital. “The funds will cover input financing, grower financing, processing, export logistics as well as export debtors.”

The funds will come from Nedbank and Egypt-based Africa Export Import Bank, she said.

Tobacco is planted between September and November in Zimbabwe. The southern African nation may sell 150 million kilograms (330 million pounds) of the crop this year, according to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board. While output of the leaves is recovering, it’s still below peak levels of about 236 million kilograms achieved in 2000. Zimbabwe mostly produces flue-cured Virginia tobacco.

The crop was Zimbabwe’s biggest export earner before 2000, when President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front began seizing white-owned commercial farms.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Latham in Johannesburg at blatham@bloomberg.net; Godfrey Marawanyika in Johannesburg at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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