‘Tobacco exports to hit 140m kg’

Zimbabwean tobacco this year is likely to be sold at first grade rate worldwide, Tobacco Industry Marketing Board CEO Andrew Matibiri told Parliament yesterday.

Matibiri appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Lands, Water and Resettlement chaired by Chikomba Central MP, Moses Jiri, to give oral evidence on the tobacco marketing season opening next week.

“In as far as the worldwide situation is concerned, Zimbabwean tobacco is likely to be sold at a premium,” said Matibiri, adding that around 140 million kg of the “golden leaf” were likely to be exported this year.

“This is due to the fact that countries like Brazil were affected severely by floods four weeks ago and tobacco production will be down by 150 million kg,” he said.

“The American crop was also affected and is down by 50 million kg and these are our main competitors.
“Tanzanian tobacco will remain the same as last year at 80 million kg and India does not produce flue-cured tobacco and is at 120 million kg.”

Matibiri said China produced two billion kg which did not satisfy its market, which would force it to import from Zimbabwe.

“Two years ago, we had an oversupply situation whereby processed tobacco from Brazil and the USA was stocked and had not been moved, but now there is even more demand for tobacco,” he said.

He said Malawi’s production was below 190 million kg and the fact that it did not produce Virginia tobacco made it to compete with Zimbabwe only on the Burley tobacco market.

“We think this year is going to be favourable for tobacco growers,” Matibiri said.

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