• April 18, 2024

Zimbabwean Shisha Production Set to Triple

 Zimbabwean Shisha Production Set to Triple

Photo: Cavendish Lloyd

Photo: Cavendish Lloyd

Zimbabwe is poised to produce more than 800 million kg of shisha tobacco this season, reports The Herald, citing statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board.

According to the regulator, tobacco growers have planted 407 hectares of the crop this year, marking a 270 percent increase over last year’s hectarage.

Cavendish Lloyd, the only registered shisha tobacco contractor in Zimbabwe, expects better quality and yields this year as growers had gained experience and put into practice last year’s recommendations from buyers.

A company representative said he anticipated yields of between 2,000 kg and 2,300 kg per hectare.

Derived from imported seed varieties, the shisha flue-cured tobacco requires different agronomic practices than Zimbabwe’s traditional flue-cured crop.

The shisha tobacco is characterized by low nicotine levels (below 1 percent) and high sugar levels (above 25 percent). To achieve the lower nicotine levels, farmers grow 3,000 plants per hectare—double the number that is typical for Zimbabwe’s traditional flue-cured crop. The density ensures the plant competes more fiercely for nutrients, which in turn reduces nicotine levels.

In its inaugural year of commercial production (2023), shisha tobacco farmers earned an average of $3.15 per kilogram.

Tobacco Reporter profiled Cavendish Lloyd’s Zimbabwean shisha operations in its May 2022 print edition (see “Great Expectations”).