Social economic factors affecting the production of fire-cured tobacco in Ruvuma region

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Dar es Salaam
A large portion of Tanzania’s foreign exchange earnings come from the agricultural sector. The major cash crops include coffee, cotton, sisal, cloves and tobacco. In 1976 and 1977 tobacco was the fifth largest cash crop. Since world tobacco consumption is likely to continue its longer-term upward trend, encouragement of production where conditions warrant and improvement of tobacco quality appear desirable. Tobacco farmers all over Tanzania face problems in their production. This study examines social-economic factors affecting the production of fire-cured tobacco in Ruvuma Region in southern Tanzania. The survey was carried out from mid-July to mid-September 1978. Primary data were obtained from 40 sample farmers by use of a questionnaire. The main problems affecting production of fire-cured tobacco in Ruvuma Region are: poor marketing system, lack of inputs and that available often arrives late due to poor communications, inadequate extension service and poor curing barns. The poor marketing system is the major factor demoralising farmers. Marketing problems include: delay in payment, too many and complex grades, unfair grading system, classifiers not following the market schedules, poor co-operation from classifiers and farmers not left with a receipt copy showing how much they have sold, what grade and how much the farmer is supposed to be paid. The main crops grown for food include maize (usually inter-cropped with beans), paddy, finger millet, and cassava. Cassava is grown as a reserve crop to be used during poor years. Average family size for the sample was 3.5 adults and 4.4 children. The family could meet its subsistence needs by cultivating 0.9 ha of maize intercropped with beans, 0.2 ha of paddy and 0.1 ha of finger millet. Labour rather than land is the major limiting factor for agricultural production. Hired labour is not available. Alternative cropping systems are discussed, all of which allow for full production of subsistence crops needed by farmers. If priority is to increase farmer income and production, it would seem advisable for school children to work on the family farms during peak months by adjusting holidays to these months. But at the same time, if tobacco is to remain as a part of the system, marketing for tobacco must be improved and properly organised. Farmers, as well as classifiers, need education on the new grading system. Co-operation between the Tobacco Authority of Tanzania (TAT) and farmers is necessary for the Authority to succeed. TAT should improve its extension service and ensure that farmers build adequate curing barns and storage facilities so as to produce high quality tobacco. If more fire-cured tobacco is desired, its price should be raised relative to that of maize. However, world prices of tobacco might become less favourable. Consideration of other cash crops for the region may become desirable.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS WRE TD365.J67)
Tobacco, Ruvuma Region, Economic conditions, Tanzania
Barie, P. B. )1979) Social economic factors affecting the production of fire-cured tobacco in Ruvuma Region, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at