Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 2

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52 tobaccoasia LEAF NEWS 烟叶新闻 Zimbabwe Farmers Abandon Tobacco About 18,000 farmers abandoned tobacco growing this season due to drought and unfavorable prices offered at the auction floors last season, Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board statistics have shown. According to the statistics, tobacco registrations have this season dropped by 20% with 71,510 growers registering this year compared to 89,581 during the corresponding period last year. Masvingo has registered the highest percentage of drop-outs in tobacco growing with 135 farmers having registered this season compared to 378 the same period last year. The number of registered growers has declined by 64%. Matabeleland has 5 registered growers this season compared to 13 last year. In Manicaland, registered growers declined by 43% from 15,664 last year to 9,161, Mashonaland Central declined by 5% from 26,434 to 25,098 while Mashonaland West went down from 31,313 growers to 27,857 this year. Midlands registrations declined by 34% from 450 last year to 297 this year, while Mashonaland East registrations declined by 40% from 15,326 growers last year to 9,161 growers this season. This season, 34,330 communal farmers registered for tobacco while 25,768 are from the A1 sector. There are 5,978 A2 and 5,434 small scale farmers respectively. The 2015/16 season has been characterised by drought which affected the dry land crop. The season started late and most farmers delayed planting. Some of the crop was also affected by dry weather conditions and yields are expected to be low. Stakeholders in the tobacco industry are optimistic that prices will be firm this season due to the decline in production. TIMB chief executive, Dr Andrew Matibiri, said there may be higher demand for the crop considering that some of the competing countries did not have a big crop this season. Dr Matibiri said Brazil, which was one of the major producers in the world, had its crop affected by floods and this reduced the crop size. "Tanzania has a smaller crop while Zambia and Malawi have not changed production. Zimba- bwe still remains the major tobacco producer in the region," he said. TIMB will this season switch from the conventional auction system to the new automated system to reduce issues of side marketing and illegal sales. Growers Trained for Grading Premier Tobacco Auction Floors has embarked on a program to equip farmers with better skills to grade, present, and classify tobacco so that they get good prices at sales floors, an official said. Opening of the 2016 marketing season was delayed by three weeks to allow harvesting of the crop since the rains had come late so most farmers are still grading their tobacco in preparation to take it for sale. Premier Tobacco field officer Nyika Taruvinga told New Ziana on the sidelines of a farmers training session at Ziroto farm in the Trelawney area, near Banket in Mashonaland West Province that as an auction floor they recognised a knowledge gap in tobacco grading. "We noticed that at times farmers are not getting value for their tobacco because they mix tobacco of different types and grades in one bale, so we took it upon ourselves to help them as they prepare to sell," he said. Taruvinga said extension officers from his company were also providing grading tips to farmers in other tobacco growing areas. "We are using field days to impart different farming tips to growers," he said. Premier Tobacco extension officer for Zvimba district Enock Hakulandaba said small scale farmers were encouraged to do split sales to avoid mixing tobacco leaf types. "I work with about 5,000 farmers and I have noticed that when farmers grow tobacco on a small area, they would want to mix all leaf types in one bale to reduce transport costs but at the end they do not get good prices. "We are encouraging them to do split sales instead of mixing different types of tobacco in one bale. That way they will get good prices," he said. Malawi TCC Summons Buyers The country's Tobacco Control Com- mission (TCC) officials are upbeat that differences rocking the sale of tobacco would be history following what they describe as successful the meeting of representatives of buyers and farmers. TCC chief executive officer Albert Changaya said most of the challenges that haunted the sale of the leaf have been drastically reduced. "We discussed issues of the prices and rejections. The buyers have promised to improve the situation," he said. On Friday, Kanengo Auction Floors in Lilongwe were suspended whilst farmers at Chinkhoma protested angrily because of poor prices and high rejection rate. The Limbe Auction Floors open on Monday by Agriculture minister George. Changaya said he expects not much prices trouble at the Limbe floors because much of the tobacco is contract. Australia Illegal Tobacco Seised Fifteen million dollars worth of illegal tobacco has been seized from a farm in northern Victoria. A total of 22 hectares of tobacco plants were discovered growing on the property at Dingwall, near Kerang, late last month. Five large kilns were also seized, containing 24 tonnes of tobacco leaf. The tobacco and leaf have now been destroyed. The Australian Taxation Office, Australian Border Force, Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police were involved in the seizure. The ATO said investigations into the growing and processing operation were continuing. It said it acted on intelligence and worked to destroy illegal tobacco crops and prosecute those involved. The ATO is responsible for excise licences to manufacture, grow or store tobacco. Currently there is no tobacco being legally grown or manufactured in Australia and anyone found illegally growing tobacco can face criminal convictions. Most illegal tobacco is imported. China New Laws on Taxes China will make laws on environmental protection tax, tonnage tax and tobacco leaf tax this year, according to the recently released annual work report of the country's top legislature. Other laws concerning grain and asset valuation are also on the legislation agenda this year. The top legislature will also revise the Securities Law, as well as laws for environmental protection, said the report, which was released before it is delivered to the National People's Congress.

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