Rhodesia Tobacco Association

Rhodesia Tobacco Association

In 1928, after suffering economic loss due to the poor quality of Rhodesian grown tobacco, the Rhodesian Agricultural Union form the Rhodesia Tobacco Association (RTA). The RTA became the voice of the tobacco industry. By 1933, the RTA was further supported by the Tobacco Levy Act under which all growers had to become members and pay a levy.

The Association lobbied the Department of Agriculture to create an advisory board focused exclusively on tobacco research. In 1935 the Tobacco Research Advisory Board was officially constituted by an Act of Parliament. The board consisted of two representatives of tobacco buyers and two growers, the Chief Tobacco Officer and the Director of Agriculture who acted as chairperson. The board was the sole advisor to the Minister of Agriculture. The RTA also successfully lobbied the government in 1935 for a more orderly system of tobacco marketing and in 1936 the Tobacco Marketing and Levy Act was passed.

In 1950, a delegation from the Tobacco Marketing Board met with the British Tobacco Advisory Council in London where it was agreed that British manufacturers would buy a maximum quantity of 140,000,000lbs of Rhodesian tobacco. As a result, the Rhodesia Tobacco Association established a research station at Marandellas to carry out research on all aspects of tobacco farming. Further stations were also established at Trelawney, Shamva, Karoi and Chipinge.