ZAMBIAN tobacco farmers are devastated by reports that China has rejected their tobacco because it has a bad taste.
Zambia produced over 20 million kilograms of tobacco in the last season worth millions of dollars.
China has apparently rejected tobacco imported from three Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries, claiming that the tobacco from the countries had a bad taste.
Tobacco Association of Zambia (TAZ) president Tim Carter has confirmed that China had rejected tobacco from Zambia because it had not matured enough.
China has branded the tobacco it has been importing from Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe bad but the Asian country has not given the details of how bad the tobacco from the three countries was.
Mr Carter said farmers had given their leaf enough time to turn yellow before it could finally land in China but unfortunately China said it had a bad taste and that it was still green.
“We hear that our tobacco was not matured enough, the leaf could have turned yellow during the exportation period but that did not make it mature enough,” he said.
Mr Carter however said China could also be using it as an excuse in order to buy cheaper tobacco.
He said the tobacco global market was currently flooded.
Mr Carter said everyone was now producing tobacco which has consequently affected Zambia’s produce.
“There is too much tobacco being produced on the market today,” he said.
Mr Carter said the only alternative was to start sourcing potential buyers locally.
He said farmers could still sell their tobacco to the only Japanese tobacco company in Zambia.
Mr Carter said the farmers could also take advantage of the few merchants that were available in the country.
And Tsungai Chipato of Nahenda Radio in Zimbabwe reports that China was actually part of the global monopoly that runs the tobacco world, therefore if one thought a competitor could offer a better price, they would be sadly mistaken.
“The world has default tobacco monopolies that are Philip Morris (American), British American Tobacco (British), Japan Tobacco International (Japan), Imperial Tobacco Group (British) and China Tobacco International Corporation (China) all of which have merged together or have joint ventures or collective agreements meant to control prices and structure,” reports Mr Chipato.