Tobacco turns into ‘green gold’

TOBACCO growing in Tanzania is set for a major boost during the next farming season with buyers of the cash crop outlining demand for 140 million kilogrammes of the leaves up from just 60 million kgs during the current season.

The move is expected to create more jobs along the tobacco value chain, boost incomes of farmers and increase revenues to the treasury coffers as well as Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society (AMCOS) in areas where the crop is grown.

The Director General of Tanzania Tobacco Board (TTB), Mr Stanley Mnozya, told the ‘Daily News’ in a telephone interview that the price of the cash crop has increased from 1.65 US dollars to 2 US dollars per kilo.

“What is more, the price of first grade tobacco has increased to 3.22 US dollars per kilo. This amount has never been recorded in the recent past,” Mr Mnozya stated.

Mr Mnozya told this paper that there are six major tobacco purchasing companies, which have shown interest to purchase 140 million kgs of tobacco during the forthcoming farming season.

He mentioned the leading buyer of tobacco as Tanzania Leaf Tobacco Company Limited (TLTC) which is also known at Mkwawa at about 45 million kgs of tobacco as well as Alliance One Tobacco Tanzania at 29.5 million kgs of the leaves.

Reacting on the same, Urambo District Executive Director (DED), Mr Baraka Zikatimu, said the increased purchase of tobacco will improve incomes for farmers and the local government authority.

“We expect to increase revenues from increased sales of tobacco during the next farming season. Revenue from tobacco amounted to 700m/- during the last farming season and we expect the amount to increase during this farming season,” he explained.

Adding; “The increased revenue will enable us to improve social services such as education, health and infrastructure, among others.”

The Manager of Juhudi Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society (AMCOS), Mr Dickson Mwakyembe, was highly optimistic that the increased purchase of tobacco will improve incomes of farmers and revenues to the local government authority.

According to Mr Mwakyembe, the AMCOS is made up of about 338 farmers who produce about 500,000 kgs of tobacco per annum.

The Manager of Imalamakoye AMCOS, Mr Raymond Zinginya, said the increased purchase of tobacco will create more jobs and boost revenues for the farmers and the local government authority.

Mr Zinginya said the AMCOS has 357 members and its quotas of tobacco production is pegged at 580,000 kgs per season.

The Urambo Member of Parliament (MP), Ms Margareth Sitta, said the increased purchase of tobacco will improve incomes of farmers.

“It was our hope that the incomes of farmers will increase due to the increased purchase of tobacco. The move will improve the lives of tobacco farmers,” Ms Sitta explained.

Apart from other purchasers of tobacco, the Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has pledged to purchase 30 million kgs of the cash crop from farmers during the forthcoming farming season, up from 14 million kgs during the current farming season.

The pledge was made recently by President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of JTI, Mr Masamichi Terabatake, during a meeting with Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, who had visited the offices of the multinational company.

 

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