Tobacco production to raise 18 percent

Zimbabwe’s tobacco outcome is calculated to go up by 18% in 2013 to 170 million kilogrammes, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has reported. “In relation to tobacco, result is estimated to rise from 144 million kg in 2012 to 170 million kg next year in consideration of the raise in the number of registered tobacco farmers now determined at 56 431 from 19 975 who had authorized by deadline of 30 September (2012),” said Minister Biti.

Tobacco Plant

Tobacco Field

“In the same way, in preparing for a better outcome season, a goal of 85 000 hectares in 2012/13 is prepared, up from 82 000 hectares in lat two years.”

But the expected outcome might be short of the goal if the country does not obtain good rains. Minister Biti predicted the economy would raise 5% in 2013, mostly influenced by mining and a good farming season, but cautioned the goal might not be reached if the country gets below good rains.

Tobacco was once Zimbabwe’s greatest foreign currency earner, but manufacturing dropped from a peak of 236 million kg in 2000 to 48 million kg in 2008.

The recovery in tobacco production was brought by small scale growers and the most of them were given land under the Government land reform system.

Tobacco Industry and Marking Board chief executive Dr Andrew Matibiri stated that the 170 million kg was attainable supposing Zimbabwe gets good rains.

He said the money allocated for the farming sector for the coming season was also acceptable while numerous registered tobacco growers have grown up.

“It is very possible from the piont of views of the amount allocated to the farming sector. If the rains are good, things are looking good,” said Dr Matibiri. Minister Biti allocated nearly US$160 million for the 2013 agricultural season.

Tobacco Growers Trust, an organisation, that presents growers, was high about the prospective of the industry, stating the 170 million goal was “practical.”

“We can do more than that . . . and based on the level of farming on the ground, we can do more,” said Mr Lovegot Tendengu, a director of the trust.

Tobacco producing considered being a preserve of a few white growers until the starting of the last decade when Government started land reform plan.

Harare economist Mr Rongi Chizema said that it was achievable to achieve the 170 million kg goal in 2013 in consideration of the increased hectarage being planted.

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