Survey reveals increased planned tobacco production

December 12, 2023

Tobacco Commission Chief Executive Officer Dr Joseph Chidanti-Malunga says the regulator is hopeful for increased tobacco production in the 2023/2024 farming season.

He expressed the sentiments in reaction to results of a November 2023 country-wide nursery assessment survey conducted to assess growers’ preparedness for tobacco production this farming season.

Conducted by industry players led by the regulator, the survey has revealed a 22.5% and 37% increase in seedbed area and planned hectarage, respectively, as compared to last year.

Dr Chidanti-Malunga described the survey results as a positive development.

“We are happy that farmers plan to produce more this year because that is what the country needs. We are just worried about the apparent delays in the rains but we look forward to favourable weather conditions to help our farmers translate the planned hectarage into actual production,” said Dr Chidanti-Malunga.

Of the three types of tobacco grown in the country, burley has the biggest planned hectarage registering a 49% increase from last year’s actual.

The survey report released this month attributes the increased seedbed area and planned hectarage to increase in quota for growers, farmers’ plans to cushion themselves against germination failure, increased sponsorship by tobacco buying companies and motivation triggered by better prices fetched in the 2022/23 tobacco marketing season.

The report further notes that sampled nurseries looked good, the seedlings were healthy and most of the growers were following recommended agricultural practices.

In the 2022/2023 farming season, 120 million kilogrammes of tobacco valued at $282.6 million was sold at an average price of $2.35.

In the previous farming season, 85 million kilogrammes valued at $182 million was sold, fetching an average price of $2.14 per kilogramme.

 

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