Andrew Matibiri – A giant in agriculture
It was often said of Jan Smuts (the apartheid South African leader) that he shied away from the media glare, but would always be in newspapers and magazines. The same can be said of Andrew Matibiri, the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) boss.
Matibiri is a giant in agriculture who is laid back but due to the proficiency and adeptness of his work, he is often drawn into the media limelight.
But who really is Andrew Matibiri? The Business Connect sought to unravel this man who is often seen as an enigma.
Matibiri has risen through the ranks of a number of agriculture companies since he joined the Tobacco Research Board in 1983 to be the current Chief Executive Officer with the ZAS.
“I joined the Tobacco Research Board (TRB) in December 1993 as a research officer in the Plant Breeding Department. From June to September 1994 I was with the Biotechnology Department in the same position of research officer.
In October 1994 Matibiri who is a holder of a doctorate in horticulture was promoted to the position of senior biotechnologist and head of the department until August 2002.
In September 2002 he was to move to FSI Agricom Holdings as general manager for the tobacco division and later to the farms’ division.
“From June 2004 to March 2005 I was the Managing Director of Freshbreeze Marketing (Pvt) Ltd, a company that bought paprika from farmers, processed and exported the products,” said the amiable and unassuming Matibiri.
In April 2005 he was to join the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board an organization that became almost synonymous with him.
“From April 2005 to February 2007 I was the Technical Services Executive Director with Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board and then from February 2007 to 30 April 2021 I was the Acting Chief Executive Officer and later (in 2009) Chief Executive Officer, Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB),” he said.
Matibiri stepped down from the helm of TIMB in April 2021and was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of ZAS in August this year.
With such vast experience, it’s only prudent that Mabiri has to share some of his knowledge with students in different colleges and universities.
“I am a part-time lecturer in Genetics and Plant Breeding Courses, BSc Agriculture degree course, Crop Science Department, University of Zimbabwe. Part-time laboratory demonstrator in Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Nematology Courses, B.Sc. Agriculture degree course, Crop Science Department, University of Zimbabwe. Lecturer for Plant Breeding and Advanced Plant Breeding courses, B.Sc. Agriculture degree course, University of Zimbabwe. Lecturer for Quantitative and Population Genetics courses, B.Sc. degree course, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Zimbabwe. I had a three-month attachment to the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Department, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, to acquire practical fungal molecular biology and biotechnology skills,” said Matibiri.