Tobacco is an important agricultural export crop in Mozambique and its significance goes back to the colonial period when it was one of the most common export crops.
The Tobacco sector in the Southern African country is dominated by small-scale farmers; roughly 98 per cent of tobacco is produced by small-scale farmers. The sector which is the country’s second-biggest foreign currency earner is one of the fastest-growing agricultural sub-sector in the country.
Despite the thriving tobacco Tobacco industry, farmers continue to risk incurring losses stemming from rotting of the crop in large quantities due to lack of market demand. These unsold tobacco crops stay in stores and end up spoiling in surpluses.
However, a new market will soon open which will come as a reprieve for many Mozambican farmers who entirely depend on the ‘golden leaf’ to fend for their families.
Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi revealed that the Chinese will import about 60,000 tons of tobacco produced in Mozambique by February of 2020. He spoke about this at a mass rally in the Angonia district recently.
“In the first phase, China will import over 60,000 tons of tobacco, making it the second-largest buyer of Mozambican tobacco,” Nyusi said.
He noted that the move is aimed at enlarging the market to encourage competition and thus boost productivity. Apart from tobacco, more than 90,000 tons of brown sugar, 150,000 tons of sesame, 30,000 tons of cashew nuts, and 200 tons of pigeon peas will also be exported from Mozambique to China.
“At the moment we had only one buyer (for tobacco and pigeon peas), India, and it was not economically secure,” said the Nyusi.
The President further pointed out that the move is seeking to improve the lives of local growers of the plant.
Featured Image Courtesy: The Scientist Magazine