Tobacco earnings up in smoke
MetadataShow full item record
CTA. 2001. Tobacco earnings up in smoke. Spore 91. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46063
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore91.pdf
Tobacco prices have been taking quite a drubbing from the success of anti-smoking campaigns in the North. During 2000, they sank to their lowest level in a decade, causing great concern among African growers. Until recently tobacco had been a...
Tobacco prices have been taking quite a drubbing from the success of anti-smoking campaigns in the North. During 2000, they sank to their lowest level in a decade, causing great concern among African growers. Until recently tobacco had been a reliable cash crop with stable prices, with easy access to loans for the little investment required. In Zimbabwe, Virginia tobacco is produced by 7,700 growers and gives employment to another 100,000 agricultural workers; it is dried in the open air. The country is now the second largest exporter in the world, with exports of USD 400 million (about h 458 million) earning one-third of Zimbabwe s foreign exchange. Neighbouring Malawi is the world s leading exporter of the Burley variety which is dried in special sheds. It is grown by 90,000 small producers and gives employment to some half a million workers. Export earnings in 2000 were USD 142 million (about h 163 million), representing 30% of domestic national product. Falling prices are leading to serious consideration of substitution crops. In Malawi, paprika, macadamia nuts, cut flowers and various spices are among the options. Paprika is probably the best option: it has an annual growth cycle and the method of cultivation is similar to tobacco. It also brings a direct return on investment and is easy to export. Estimates show that sales could grow to 10,000 tonnes a year from the current level of 3,000 tonnes. The tobacco producers being asked to make the switch will still need some assurances that, unlike cigarettes, paprika is not dangerous to your health