To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

March 17, 2009

Zimbabwe’s tobacco crop may decline by 40% this year

by Brian Latham

Zimbabwe’s official tobacco harvest may fall as much as 40 percent to 42 million kilograms (93 million pounds) this year as destitute farmers sell the leaf illegally, the government’s Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board said.

The southern African nation last year produced an estimated 70 million kilograms of tobacco leaf. The exact size of the crop may be difficult to measure because destitute farmers are selling their leaf on the black market, said Andrew Matibiri, chief executive officer of the board.

“The practice is illegal, but some farmers are desperate because they’re facing challenges,” said Matibiri. Under Zimbabwean law, tobacco can only be sold on auction or to licensed merchants.

Farmers are selling tobacco for as little as $1 a kilogram, compared with an average price of $3.20 a kilogram last year, the marketing board chief said. The southern African nation produces flue-cured tobacco that rivals the U.S. for quality.

Tobacco production in Zimbabwe has plummeted since 2000, when President Robert Mugabe authorized the often-violent seizure of most white-owned farms. That year, the country produced 236 million kilograms of tobacco, making it the world’s second-largest exporter after Brazil. Since then Zimbabwe has slumped to the world’s sixth-largest exporter after Brazil, India, the U.S., the European Union and Argentina.

Last month, supporters of Mugabe invaded at least 77 white- owned commercial farms and threatened other landowners, according to Doug Taylor-Freeme, president of the Commercial Farmers Union. The eviction campaign threatened the livelihoods of about 100 farmers along with about $140 million worth of crops, he said in an interview Feb. 24.

Zimbabwe’s tobacco selling season will begin in April and traditionally runs until mid-October. The crop is usually the country’s top export earner.

Bloomberg

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by Ourblogtemplates.com

Back to TOP