HARARE, Sept 4, (The Source) – Tobacco exports to Europe Union increased by seven percentage points in 2013, with the bloc becoming the second largest consumer of Zimbabwean golden leaf after China, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said citing industry data.
The EU absorbed 30 percent of total tobacco exports, compared to the 23 percent last year while the Asian market’s share fell to 38 percent in 2013, compared to 54 percent in 2012. This was mainly as a result of the drop in value of China’s exports by 54.7 percent, from $39.9 million in the prior year to $18 million this year.
In its latest country update, the AfDB said Africa’s market share increased by seven percent as South Africa imported $29.7 million worth of tobacco in 2013 compared to $10.2 million it imported same period last year.
A total of 155.9 million kilograms had been delivered to the market by 28 June 2013, compared to the 129 million kilograms delivered during the same period in the last season, passing the 2012 total of 144.5 million kg by eight percent.
The eventual total, after the closure of mop-up sales, was 165 million kg at an average price of $3.68 per kg.
Earnings rose by 16 percent to $607 million compared to $520 million last year.
As at 28 June 2013, up to 77,913 growers out of the 91,189 growers who had registered for the 2012-13 season had delivered their tobacco. As many as 70,583 growers had registered during the same period last year.
A total of 53,843 had already registered for the forthcoming 2013-14 season where 47 percent are communal farmers, 33 percent are A1 farmers, 11.6 percent are A2 farmers and the remaining are small-scale commercial farmers.
Of those that registered to grow tobacco in the next season, 15,329 (28.5 percent) are new growers, evidence that the cash crop is more lucrative compared to the other crops such as cotton, whose price ranges from $0.38-$0.45/kg and $0.31/kg, the price offered by the Grain Marketing Board for maize.
“In the interest of ensuring sustainable household food security, there is a need for a balance on the allocation of land for cash and food crop production as it appears that communal farmers are increasingly diverting land that was traditionally reserved for food production into tobacco production,” AfDB said.