The Morogoro-based, tobacco processing company, Alliance One Tobacco Tanzania Ltd (AOTTL), says tobacco production in the country has increased by 167 per cent during the last eight years.
Speaking to reporters in Morogoro on Thursday, AOTTL managing director Graham Kayes, said production has risen to 59 million kilogrammes this year from 22 million kilogrammes produced in 2000.
"This growth has resulted in local farmers to get an average of Sh300,000 per hectare to Sh500,000 this season," he said during the occasion to mark the 10th anniversary of the company held in Morogoro.
Mr Kayes noted that during the past ten years, the company's processing capacity has also increased by 175 per cent from 9.3 million kilogrammes in 2000 to 25.6 million kilogrammes this year.
He said quality of local tobacco has also improved with the average price to the grower rose from $0.50 per kg to $2.50 per kilogramme of tobacco. According to him, the average productivity per hectare has doubled from 600kg/ha ten years ago to 1,250kg/ha this year.
He said the initial investment of AOTTL was more than $40 million (Sh52 billion), making its factory one of the best tobacco processors in Africa. Mr Kayes said tobacco is now the second largest cash crop in Tanzania contributing about $143.3 million per year to the country's economy.
The official said the crop's contribution to the Government revenue is about Sh100 billion annually, while the industry employs about 500,000 Tanzanians in the production, processing and marketing.
Alliance One Tanzania Ltd pays about Sh300 million per month to the Government as direct and indirect taxes. AOTTL buys the cash crop through its branch offices in Mara, Iringa, Songea, Kigoma and Tabora regions.