Mozambique Leaf Tobacco (MLT) plans to reduce production in Niassa during the upcoming growing season due to difficulties of selling leaf during the Covid-19 pandemic, reports Club of Mozambique.
Claudio Ferreira, MLT manager for the Niassa and Zambezia provinces, told Noticias that some countries that are potential markets for Mozambican tobacco have reduced their imports significantly to protect the health of their citizens during the pandemic. Health experts believe the inherent risks of smoking are exacerbated by Covid-19.
“The World Health Organization has also been advising smokers to abandon tobacco, and these appeals are being listened to”, said Ferreira.
Ferreira said MLT will work with 36,500 smallholder growers this season, about 4,000 less than in the 2019-2020 year. The area under tobacco cultivation will shrink, he added, but did not say by how much.
Niassa Governor Judite Massenguele said the provincial agricultural directorate has already begun to persuade tobacco farmers to switch to crops such as cotton, soya and sesame.
The Niassa government is also eager to set up a tobacco processing plant in the province, believing that this will create jobs. But so far, no private sector partner seems interested in such a plant.
MLT, a subsidiary of Universal Corp., operates a tobacco processing plant in Tete Province.