Zimbabwean tobacco farmers protest prices
Zimbabwean farmers angry over tobacco prices refused to take part in the annual auction of tobacco, which started in early April, reports The Sunday Times of South Africa.
Some 300 bales of tobacco were sold before hundreds of farmers decided to hang on to their leaf, saying the prices offered were “far too little.” Leaf merchants were offering between us$0.30 and us$1.90 per kg at the start of the 2005 marketing season, compared with about us$2.50 per kg in the previous selling season.
Zimbabwe, one of the leading suppliers of flue-cured tobacco used in American-blend and other cigarettes, sells most of its tobacco to the European Union and Asia.
Zimbabwe’s tobacco production has declined steeply since 2000, when the government embarked on a program of seizing white-owned land for redistribution to new black farmers.
Zimbabwe exports 98 percent of its tobacco crop, and this brings in about one-third of the country’s foreign exchange, making the leaf
the country’s second-largest foreign exchange earner after gold.