Drought cuts output of Zimbabwe tobacco


tobacco auction-floors

Production of tobacco, Zimbabwe’s biggest export earner, is expected to fall 15 percent to 160 million kilogrammes this season following a drought that has left millions facing hunger, an industry survey showed yesterday.

Zimbabwe earned $855 million from tobacco sales in 2015, nearly a third of its total exports and far outpacing receipts from platinum or gold.

Farmers produced 189 million kgs of tobacco last year but an El Nino-triggered drought caused long dry spells that forced farmers to delay planting, affecting this year’s output.

Zimbabwe’s tobacco selling season began yesterday.

Monica Chinamasa, chairwoman of industry regulator the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, said 72 000 farmers had registered to sell their crop compared to 91 000 last year, blaming the decline on drought and a lack of financing for producers.

Before 2000, when President Robert Mugabe’s government started seizing land from white-owned commercial farmers for redistribution to blacks, only 4 500 farmers grew Zimbabwe’s entire tobacco crop.

“There is need to empower farmers to overcome the adverse effects of low and erratic rainfall, mid-season droughts and extending the growing season,” Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said in speech marking the start of the 2016 selling season.

Zimbabwe exports the bulk of its tobacco to China, which has become the largest investor in the Southern African country.

Up to 4 million Zimbabweans face hunger due to the worst drought in more than two decades. –The Source


See also:

Anti-tobacco policies could kill economy

Zimbabwe tobacco exports up on China demand

We need to grow more maize because people do not eat tobacco- MP

Give priority to food crops and not tobacco-MP says

China overtakes Belgium as top importer of Zimbabwe’s tobacco



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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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