TOBACCO production for 2008 will decline by 20% due to heavy rains, shortage of fertiliser and diesel, the Zimbabwe Tobacco Growers Association (ZTGA) sai
d this week.
ZTGA had earlier projected a total tobacco yield of 120 million kilogrammes for the current season.
In an interview with businessdigest this week ZTGA president, Julius Ngorima, said the initial target of 120 million kg of tobacco in 2008 would not be achieved due to a combination of factors which includes late planting, shortage of diesel and fertiliser and heavy rains.
“There is no way the initial projection of 120 million kg can be achieved. We are now expecting an output below 100 million kg,” Ngorima said.
A total of 73 million kg of tobacco valued at US$170 million was achieved last year.
“A significant hectarage by farmers who planted in November was badly affected. Despite the farmers applying fertiliser the crop has failed to recover,” he said.
Ngorima said the heavy rains which the country received over the past two months will affect tobacco which was planted late.
“The shortage of diesel affected some farmers’ production including those who planted early,” said Ngorima.
Other organisations are however expecting the yield to be much lower than 100m kgs. The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA), which also represents tobacco farmers, said the tobacco for this year will go down to as low as 70 million kg.
“We’re expecting a crop of less than 70 million kg because drought earlier in the season and incessant rains more recently have affected the crop,” said ZTA president, Andrew Ferreira.
“Some growers have opted out of tobacco because of the problems related to obtaining inputs,” said Ferreira. Zimbabwe’s Tobacco production has plummeted since 2000 when the country produced a record 236 million kg.