DAR ES SALAAM, April 14 (Xinhua) -- Tobacco production in Tanzania has been on the decline due to various challenges, including destructive pests, an official said on Sunday.
Stanley Mnozya, the Deputy Managing Director of the Tanzania Tobacco Board, said production of the cash crop had been on the decline since the 2013/2014 farming season.
"There has been a spate of pests that destroy tens of hectares of tobacco farms annually which subsequently raise production costs of the cash crop," said Mnozya.
He was speaking at a meeting convened in Kahama district in Shinyanga region to discuss ways of reviving production of the crop and looking for markets,
Mnozya said production of tobacco declined from 105 million kilograms in 2013/2014 to 93 million kilograms in 2014/2015, adding that the production of the crop decreased from 72 million kilograms in 2015/2016 to 60 kilograms in 2016/2017 and to further 50.5 million kilograms in 2017/2018.
He said another challenge facing tobacco production was caused by low demand of the commodity in international markets following anti-tobacco global campaigns.
Tanzania is second in Africa in tobacco production after Malawi. However, despite high production of tobacco, it remains a poor country and tobacco farmers are worse off while the country loses more than 61,000 hectares of forest annually due to tobacco growing and curing.
In recent years, there has been considerable debate about the social, environmental and economic impact of tobacco growing, especially in developing countries.