Zimbabwe has become the world’s biggest tobacco exporter, and tobacco is the country’s biggest foreign-currency earner, bringing in some $430 million in 1994. However, farmers are worried about the anti-smoking trend in
America and Western Europe because most southern African economies are still dependent on a narrow range of exports that make them extremely vulnerable to market forces. Therefore anti-smoking trend brings a great shock to Zimbabwe’s economy. Moreover, the United States decided to impose tariffs on imported tobacco. As a result, Zimbabwe is now suffering from a loss of international trade. In addition, after U.S. tobacco industries lost market in their country they started to seek new markets especially in developing countries. Developing countries have few regulations concerning tobacco imports. As a result the number of smokers have gradually increased in the world. This is the case in Africa. The anti-smoking trend is also becoming an issue related to health in Africa. Furthermore, the condition of Zimbabwe’s economy is getting worse.
Zimbabwe is one of the major tobacco exporters in the world. In 1996-1998, average annual exports of tobacco were 127 000 tonnes, of which Virginia accounted for more than 95 percent. Total exports of tobacco increased by 40 percent between 1981-1983 and 1996-1998. The average export revenue during the same period was US$7 875 million, and tobacco has been the largest single export crop in recent decades. Although the share of tobacco in total agricultural exports has declined from its peak of 78 percent in 1992, it still accounted for more than 55 percent of total agricultural exports during 1996-1998. Among other export crops, cotton and maize experienced significant growth in export revenue. Export earnings from cotton increased nearly 22-fold between 1981-1983 and 1996-1998, while maize increased by nearly 16 times during the same period, and sugar also saw its share in revenue increase sharply.
Increases in both planting areas and yields have contributed to a significant increase in output of tobacco over the past decades. Comparing the three-year average 1980-82 with 1998-2000, total output increased by 137 percent, from 95 817 tonnes to 226 970 tonnes. During the same period, planting areas increased from 50 150 ha to 92 685 ha, a rise of 85 percent, while yield increased by about 29 percent, from 1 900 kg/ha to 2 510 kg/ha (Table 7.1).
Large-scale commercial (LSC) farmers dominate tobacco production. LSC farmers are characterized by their use of modern machinery, overhead and drip-line irrigation, and permanent wage labour. Holdings in the LSC sector can be very large and it has been estimated that fewer than 5 000 farmers occupy 21 percent of Zimbabwe
The heritage of multiple currencies in 2009 influenced the incomes from tobacco sales, about 60 million kg was produced that year, and twice as much about 123 million kg the following year.
In 2011, tobacco sales closed with about 131 million kg having gone at auction under the hammer. Tobacco production has been the leading driver behind 34% growth in Zimbabwe’s agriculture.
TIMB has sent the season’s task of tobacco output at 150 million kg from 77 thousands hectares of the harvest. The Executive Officer from Tobacco Industry Marketing Board, Andrew Matibiri said optimistic that traditionally tobacco planting officially ended on December 31 but because of the rains the season was delayed. He affirmed this with a calm voice because the production purpose was achievable. Also he added that everything is on the cycle and that he was hopping that by the end of the deadline the goal would have been reached.
The introduction of acquire and develop agriculture through tobacco companies and tobacco buyers have insured inputs and a lot of trainings to farmers, that has been a big motive and stimulant for the recuperation.
A significant number of natives farmers were beginning to demonstrate their harvest of tobaccos golden leafs from theirs allocated lands under the improvement in agricultural industry. Beside of this their resource was consolidated through good market, financial institutions support, admission to technologies and trainings.
Increasing the alternative sources of nicotine and support of anti-smoking programs, can cause a shadow over future production of the harvest. Beside all these, there has recently been a genuine decline in the Burley tobacco production that is use in a lot of cigarette because of its pleasant, soft and good flavor.
An important statistic is that during this year’s tobacco marketing is overloaded, with a volume equivalent to the Zimbabwe harvest remaining unsold from last few years.
At the moment, tobacco companies are appealing to ZESA Holdings to provide dams power for conserving the harvest to exceed losses but there is a possibility that tobacco leafs can lose their quality because of curing. But the process of conservation allow farmers to stock the tobacco crop until the selling season started and it is major plus for companies profit.