The beginning: 2002
Our license to operate
- Savanna Tobacco's entry into the tobacco industry in Zimbabwe started with our quest for a contract growing license. Zimbabwe's historical tobacco marketing system was characterised purely by tobacco sales on the auction floors. With the commencement of the land reform program in Zimbabwe newly resettled farmers did not have the financial capacity to grow the very expensive crop of tobacco and we embarked on a process to convince Government of the merits of creating a dual system of contract farming and auctioning tobacco. This process was a resounding success.
- Savanna Tobacco was founded in 2002 when the company purchased a tobacco threshing plant in Harare, Zimbabwe. Savanna reconditioned the machinery and started processing and packaging cigarette stems and selling them to a number of cigarette factories around the world. Within the first two years of operation, the company had sold over three million kilograms of farm stems. By this time the directors of Savanna had already identified an opportunity to add value to Zimbabwean tobaccos by manufacturing quality cigarettes for the export market.
Our first brand: 2003-2004
Our growth: 2005-2009
- In December of 2003, we rolled out equipment consisting of a KDF Filter maker, a Protos 80 cigarette maker and a Metro cigarette packer at the company’s factory. It was all systems go and our first brand, Pacific Blue, was launched on the market in 2004.
- To meet the demands of an ever discerning consumer market, the success of Pacific Blue was quickly followed by the launch of Pacific Storm and Pacific Mist in 2005 and Breeze in 2006. A year later, the Pegasus range was launched followed by the Branson family in 2009, the expansion of the Pacific family through the launch of Pacific Storm 10’s in 2011 and 5’s in 2012, and Pacific Blue 2’s and 10’s in 2012.
- Since then the company has never looked back. When the factory started, it was manned by six South African Technicians and about sixty Zimbabweans. To date, the expatriates have all, except for one, been replaced by locals and the total staff complement stands at 150 permanent employees. Savanna’s has two FOCKE 350 packing machines which have vastly increased the company’s packing capabilities as well as the look and feel of our finished products.
Solidifying our position: 2010-2012
A leading manufacturer
- In March 2010, Savanna made the iconic move from Masvingo Road to our new premises along Gleneagles, solidifying our position as the leading manufacturer of cigarettes in Zimbabwe. Savanna’s latest acquisitions are two flow wrap packers manufactured at Focke& Co in Germany. One machine arrived in November 2011 and the second one in February 2012. As a result, Savanna Tobacco became the first cigarette maker in Africa to produce 10’s, 5’s and 2 packs in a resaleable foil wrapped package.