21 April 1999
Outlook grim for Zimbabwe tobacco

SLUGGISH global demand, a smaller than normal crop and excessive rains have all contributed to a pessimistic outlook for Zimbabwes tobacco auctions.

Tobacco is the countrys top export, accounting for as much as 25% of total earnings.

But prices are forecast to follow last years trend and remain low.

This years crop is described as “variable, with a large proportion of excellent tobacco”.

But demand for higher quality, more costly leaf is likely to be subdued this year, resulting in a slightly lower average price over the season.

The forecast is for an average price of around 165US¢/kg.

That would give growers a gross income of some US$305m, down 18% from last year and the lowest since 1990.