Dar es Salaam — Tobacco production fell in the third quarter of this year.
However, global prices remained stable. The Bank of Tanzania's quarterly economic bulletin showed that tobacco production dropped by nearly a third in one year.
Tobacco is the second largest export earner after cashew nuts.
The report showed 38,301.4 tonnes were produced during the third quarter of 2018, down from 53,849.7 tonnes during the corresponding quarter in 2017.
The decrease was attributed to late distribution of inputs and inadequate rainfall in tobacco-growing areas.
The bulletin showed tobacco production had been decreasing since 2015/16 when 87,000 tonnes were harvested, down from 105,900 tonnes in 2014/15.
In 2016/17, production was 60,000 tonnes.
However, according to the Tanzania Revenue Authority data, the tobacco unit price per tonne had been increasing in the world market to Sh10.26 million in 2016, from Sh7.77 million in 2014.
Tanzania is the second largest African tobacco producer after Malawi.
Tanzania's earned $312.7 million from tobacco exports in 2016, $287.6 million in 2015 and $315 million in 2014.
Tabora is Tanzania's leading tobacco producer, followed by Mara, Kigoma, Shinyanga, Arusha, Ruvuma and Geita.
The World Health Organisation has vigorously been campaigning against tobacco consumption, citing serious health hazards including lung cancer.
Tobacco also involves the clearing of huge tracts of land to prepare farms and have fuelwood for curing.