ZIMBABWE - Tobacco seed sales for the 2015/2016 season have declined by 34 percent, indicating that the country could register a decline in area planted that could affect output.
Seed sales released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board show that farmers had bought 684 670 grams of seed from the Tobacco Research Board and the Zimbabwe Tobacco Seed Association, enough to plant 114 112 hectares compared to over one million grams bought in the previous season which was enough to plant 172 814 hectares.
Projections are that the 2015/2016 season may register a decline in yields; last year, the country sold 199 million kilogrammes of tobacco valued at US$586 million. This was also a decline from the 2014 sales of 216 million kg worth US$685 million.
During the 2014/15 marketing season, most tobacco growers complained about low prices while the merchants argued the crop was of poor quality. Farmers described it as one of the toughest years in recent years.
Drought and floods affected the quantity and quality of the crop. The crop lacked the flavour and aroma associated with flue cured crop.