Figures released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board of Zimbabwe indicate that there was a net loss of almost 18,000 tobacco farmers this season, according to a story in The Herald relayed by the TMA.
Drought and the unfavorable prices offered during the most recent marketing season were given as reasons for the decline in interest in tobacco.
The TIMB said 71,510 farmers had registered to grow tobacco, down from 89,581 the previous season.
Drought again affected this season’s production and the opening of the flue-cured tobacco sales season has been delayed as a consequence.
The 2016 selling season will open on March 30, whereas last year it opened on March 4 and, traditionally, sales have opened about the middle of February.
Twenty-three buyers have been licensed to purchase leaf on the two auction floors so far licensed to operate, and 15 merchants have received approval to conduct contract sales.
It is expected that about 160 million kg will be offered for sale.-TR