The number of new tobacco growers in Zimbabwe for the 2021–2022 season has declined by 50 percent compared to the previous year, according to a report in The Herald.
According to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), 756 of the new registered farmers are from the communal sector, 244 are A1 farmers, 38 are from the small-scale commercial sector and 56 are from the A2 sector.
Meanwell Gudu, TIMB chief executive, attributed the decline in new registrations to viability issues. “The decline witnessed in terms of registration of new tobacco growers can be attributed to viability issues. The cost of production is going up and the growing demand of the U.S. dollar component in the operations,” he said. “Even farm laborers now demand payment in foreign currency. So without development funding, it becomes a challenge for new tobacco farmers to register.”
Meanwhile, average prices for tobacco exports have marginally increased this year.
“There [are] increased exports, which is a clear reflection of the opening up of the economy post-Covid-19 lockdowns, and there are improvements in logistics,” Gudu said.
So far, Zimbabwe has exported tobacco worth $307.8 million this season compared to $222.2 million in the same period last year.