Shisha Tobacco Sales Surge in Zimbabwe

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HARARE – Shisha tobacco growers in Zimbabwe have recorded brisk sales, with more than a third of their crop sold within just four days, according to data from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), as reported by The Herald.

The growers raked in a total of $660,000 from the sales, fetching an average price of $3.62 per kilogram. Out of the 2,385 bales presented, 162 bales, or 6.79 percent, were rejected by buyers. The current average price reflects a 15 percent increase compared to the average price recorded during the 2023 season.

Despite the favorable prices, shisha tobacco remains less lucrative for growers compared to flue-cured tobacco, noted George Seremwe, Chairman of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Growers Association. He pointed out that while producing shisha leaf is less capital-intensive, the overall returns are lower than those of traditional flue-cured tobacco.

Shisha tobacco, although a type of flue-cured tobacco, is cultivated from imported seeds and requires different agronomic practices. To achieve the desired low nicotine levels, tobacco fields are densely planted, leading to intense competition among plants for nutrients.

In Zimbabwe, Cavendish Lloyd stands as the sole merchant registered and licensed with the TIMB for shisha leaf trading. The company was profiled in the May 2022 print edition of Tobacco Reporter, highlighting its role in the shisha tobacco market.

The surge in shisha tobacco sales underscores the growing demand for this specialized tobacco variety, despite the unique challenges it poses for growers. As global preferences continue to evolve, Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry is adapting to meet changing market demands, offering opportunities for growers to diversify their crops and explore new revenue streams.