HomeBusiness DigestTobacco output to decline

Tobacco output to decline

THE shortage of essential inputs such as fertiliser and diesel for efficient tillage is expected to result in a sharp decline in tobacco production this season, an official has said.

lvetica, sans-serif”>Zimbabwe Tobacco Growers Association president, Julius Ngorima, said an output of not more than 65 million kg of flue-cured tobacco was expected down from the initial 160 million kg.

“Though a total of 80 000 hectares were targeted to be put under tobacco this year, we are now expecting about 45 000 hectares due to the problems most farmers faced,” he said.

Ngorima said a significant number of farmers had prepared seed beds for transplanting, but the shortage of inputs and financial resources held them back.

As a result, he said, an average of between 800 kg and 1 000 kg per hectare would be expected this season, down from the normal 2 000 kg.

He said the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board had failed to disburse loans to most farmers citing poor repayment levels.

Meanwhile, Ngorima said planting of the main dry land crop should stop at the end of this month to avoid stunting crops known as “bush top”.

The southern African country produced 73,3 million kg of the golden leaf worth US$118 million during the 2004/2005 season.

Tobacco accounted for 14% of the foreign currency the country earned in 2004. — xinhuanet.com.

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