Posted on: June 17, 2020
By: MacDonald Dzirutwe
A newly established Zimbabwean company has started making cigars for export, aiming to take on established players while developing a culture of cigar smoking at home.
Mosi-Oa-Tunya, the local name for Victoria Falls which means “the smoke that thunders”, is the first firm to make cigars in the southern African nation whose economic troubles have been compounded by the new coronavius pandemic.
After living and working in the United States for 15 years, Shep Mafundikwa returned home last year to set up Mosi-Oa-Tunya.
Since March, an all-women staff has been undergoing on-the-job training in the art of rolling cigars by hand, with each worker producing 256 cigars a day.
“We have solid interest right now from Romania and from Vietnam and we have inquiries from Dubai,” Mafundikwa told Reuters at the company’s factory in Harare.
“We have people waiting, customers waiting to have the cigars in hand,” he said, adding that exports would start once restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak are eased.