Home » General » ZIMBABWE TOBACCO YIELD EXPECTED TO FALL BELOW PROJECTED 220 MILLION KG

HARARE, March 3 — The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) has forecast that the country is most likely to miss the 220 million kg of tobacco forecast for this year because erratic rainfall has affected the bulk of the crop.

Deliveries of tobacco started trickling in at the auction floors here last week. Traditionally, the selling season begins in mid-February but this year it has kicked off late since the late rains delayed maturity of the crop.

ZCFU president Wonder Chabikwa told New Ziana here Monday that the late onset of the rains dampened prospects of meeting the projected tobacco output. “The challenge is that most of our tobacco is in dry land and with these erratic rains it is definitely going to influence a reduced yield,” he said.

“The season started late and rains were poorly distributed. We hope the season changes and boosts the crops which were planted late so that we can have an improved situation. As we speak today the picture is not looking good and if it does not rain we will be counting losses each day,“ he added.

Chabikwa said the other challenge was that measured output did not include the crop produced under contract, which constituted three quarters of production. “Most of our tobacco is contracted crops which are not delivered at auction floors, so we do not count them,” he added.

Last year, farmers sold about 216 million kg of flue-cured tobacco at the auction floors, passing the 200 million kg mark for the first time since 2001 and earning the country 684 million US dollars.

Zimbabwe had this year targeted to produce about 240 million kg of on the back of increased cultivation.

SOURCE: NEW ZIANA

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