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Tobacco Yields Declining

Tobacco yields have been increasing since 2008, based on information extracted from the Tobacco Industry marketing board (TIMB).

This occurs after the Boka Tobacco Floors CEO Rudo Boka not too long ago told a tobacco growers’ field day in Rushinga the country’s tobacco yields were bettering as far more tobacco growers gathered experience and obtained access to technical and financial support.

Boka, on the other hand, stated there was still demand for farmers to increase value by guaranteeing the quality of their crop via the utilization of appropriate farming strategies and grading approaches.

Advantages of a diverse currency regime that allowed farmers to invest were faced in 2010 when yields increased twofold from 2009 to 2010 at about 1 842kg per hectare prior to slowing down partially in 2011 to 1 689kg/hectare.

This on the other hand brings assurance that the tobacco industry is increasing to levels of its last year achievements when yields constituted over 2 000kg/ha between 1980 and 2002 before falling considerably around 2004 and 2006 as shift of a chaotic rapid track land reform plan of 2000 took a toll on agriculture. The country lost thousands of skilled tobacco growers because of the land reform system.

Even though Zimbabwe’s flue cured tobacco yields documented a positive run between 1980 and 2000, prices have only began increasing since 2007.

The ordinary price of flue cured tobacco shut the 2014 marketing season at US$3,17/kg down from US$3,67 per kg in 2013 and US$3,65/kg in 2012.

The country exported 135 528 metric tonnes valued at US$772, 6 million in 2014, lower from 153 350 metric tonnes highly valued at US$877, 5 million a year ago.

TIMB chair Monica Chinamasa stated while output has demonstrated a further boost for the sixth consecutive year and that Zimbabwean flue-cured tobacco is a best quality product, there are market restrictions for its demand based on prevailing market factors.

“Therefore, in order to pass through the unstable market circumstances, growers should concentrate their control on aspects like quality, costs and efficiencies,” she explained in the company’s 2014 yearly report.

Chinamasa explained the country needs far more assets in cigarette manufacturing in order to comprehend more profit from exports of cigarettes instead of transferring semi-processed leaf, which is tantamount to exporting jobs.

“In the same way, more development is required in generating value from other tobacco derivatives like stems and fines which can be integrated into cigarette mixes consequently creating more value,” she said.

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