Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Tobacco rakes in US$445 million

Tobacco rakes in US$445 million

Friday, 22 June 2012 09:50

Gamma Mudarikiri

TOBACCO earnings for the current marketing season have so far earned the 
country US$455 million, 45% ahead of sales for the same period last year 
which were US$313 million. A total of 122 million kilogrammes have been sold 
at an average price of US$3,72 per kg, while sales for the same period last 
year were 115 million kg sold at an average price of US$2,72, an 37% 
improvement in prices.

Contract sales have realised US$273 million from 75 million kg at a firm 
average price of US$3,80 per kg, while 48 million kg have gone under the 
hammer on the open auction floors, realising US$172 million.

The average prices on the auction floors have been US$3,61 per kg.

Meanwhile, Tobacco farmers in Africa met in Zambia last week and objected 
to proposals by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to 
stop the cultivation of the crop as development market forces would 
not allow this owing to high demand for the leaf internationally.

Tobacco farmers and representative bodies at the meeting, which was 
hosted by the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA), a lobby 
organisation for tobacco farmers internationally, said proposals by FCTC 
to ban cultivation of the crop was disturbing, exclusive and going 
beyond FCTC mandate.
ITGA Africa region chairman François van der Merwe said FCTC’s original 
mandate was to explore research and promote alternative crops in the event 
that demand for tobacco globally declines.

“The suggestion that an outside organisation should think it morally right 
to dictate what a farmer’s land can and cannot be used for in the pursuit of 
his or her livelihood is disturbing to say the least.”

“Market forces will not allow this prescriptive-style to prevail. As long as 
there is a demand for leaf, it will be grown,” Francois said.

FCTC’s recommendations include limiting land under tobacco cultivation as 
control measure to control use of the crop.

Governments in tobacco growing countries as part of the 
recommendations should not provide incentives to increase acreage of 
land for tobacco cultivation and with time should freeze the total 
acreage under the crop.

Farmers said although there are alternative and staple food crops, such as 
maize, tobacco remains a cash crop with high returns compared to any other 

Joseph Wanguhu, who represents the Kenya Tobacco Farmers Association (KTFA) 
said he was skeptical about the viability of alternative crops, which 
have a market internationally and poorly priced compared to tobacco. 


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