Home » General » ZIMBABWE RECORDS DROP IN NUMBER OF REGISTERED TOBACCO GROWERS

HARARE, Nov 24 (NNN-NEW ZIANA) — The number of farmers who have registered to grow tobacco in Zimbabwe has dropped from more than 86,000 last year to slightly above 69,000 this year, according to statistics released by the industry regulator.

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said in its latest bulletin issued here Monday that a total of 69,092 farmers had so far registered for the 2015/16 season compared with 86,992 who had registered by the same time last year.

New registrations for 2015/16 now stand at 8,755, down from 16,140 this time last year.
About 15,421 hectares have been put under the crop so far amidst indications of more farmers shifting to irrigation to mitigate the effects of unpredictable rainfall patterns.

According to the TIMB report, 2015 seasonal tobacco exports rose to 125.4 million kilogrammes compared with 119.9 million kg in the same period last year.

Tobacco has become Zimbabwe’s major foreign currency earner, with close to 92,000 farmers growing the crop in the 2014/15 season, a number significantly higher than 52,000 farmers three years ago.

Seasonal tobacco sales for 2015 were 198.7 million kg compared with 216.1 million kg in 2014.

Many farmers have abandoned traditional crops like maize and cotton in preference for tobacco, but lack of expertise and unsuitable conditions have resulted in a number of them producing a poor crop, analysts say.

Last season, most tobacco growers complained about low prices while the merchants argued that the quality of the crop was poor. — NNN-NEW ZIANA

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