While britain's Pearce Commission has been touring Rhodesia to assess the acceptability of the Anglo-Rhodesian settlement terms, Rhodesian tobacco growers have begun the work of harvesting and curing the current season's crop.
GV PAN..Workers with tobacco on tractor passing through plantation
SCU Worker picks tobacco leaves
SV & CU Workers take tobacco past overseer to truck (3 shots)
CU Tobacco being loaded on to cart
GV PAN..Curing barns
SV PAN INTERIOR..cured tobacco baled
SV Man inspects tobacco being cured
Initials ES. 1.11 ES.1.30
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: While britain's Pearce Commission has been touring Rhodesia to assess the acceptability of the Anglo-Rhodesian settlement terms, Rhodesian tobacco growers have begun the work of harvesting and curing the current season's crop.
The trade sanctions that followed the 1965 unilateral declaration of independence struck particularly hard at the international market for Rhodesian tobacco. To counter the slump in tobacco sales, the Rhodesian Government pegged back production to a fixed quota, but offered the growers a guaranteed price for their crop.
This year, with the possibility of a settlement between Britain and Rhodesia on the independence issue, hopes have been rising among the growers that Rhodesia might return to unfettered world markets. The auctions, normally held in March, have bean put off till April.
If Britain alone dropped its sanctions on Rhodesian tobacco, it would give the growers a big market they have been denied since 1965.
In Rhodesia's tobacco plantations, work has began on harvesting and curing the new season's crop. And among the growers, there's a rising mood of optimism, after six years of international trade sanction. The British Pearce Commission is touring the country to assess the acceptability of the Anglo-Rhodesian settlement terms. If a settlement goes through, the growers can look forward to a new boom in tobacco in spite of sanctions, but does not deny that the industry -- the country's biggest foreign currency earner before 1965 -- has been hard hit.
Before sanctions began, Rhodesia was producing 250 million pounds (110 million kg) of Virginia tobacco, above output was expected to rise in subsequent years. The effect of sanctions was drastic -- the Government pegged production back to a quota of 132 million pounds (59 million kg) weigh and at the same time offered the growers a fixed-price guarantee for their crops. Employment in the industry dropped to half its previous level, and wages, which had been rising, became static.
Now the growers are hoping the settlement will go through and world markets will begin to open their doors again to Rhodesian tobacco. The auctions, normally held in March, have been pout back to April to allow more time for a settlement to come into effect. If there's no settlement, there'll be another year of quotas and fixed prices.