Zimbabweans predict significant leaf volume increase
Several groups are forecasting a sizable crop for Zimbabwe’s 2004-2005 season. The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association says this year’s crop could top 100 million kg, while the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) says the crop could reach the government’s goal of 160 million kg.
Kwenda Dzarira, executive director of the ZFU, says that enough coal has been delivered for curing. Past crop deficiencies were partly blamed on the shortage of coal.
“The only problem could be of curing space, since tobacco has to stay in the pan for about 10 to 18 days, depending on the quality of the leaf,” he says.
Providing an even more optimistic forecast, Davison Mugabe, president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, vows that with continued good rains, the harvest could reach 250 million kg.
During the 2003-2004 season, only 65 million kg were processed.