tobacco seedlings.jpgTobacco production is poised for an increase in the summer cropping season following a 73 percent increase in seed sales.

Latest figures from the sector show that 601 kilogrammes of flue cured tobacco seed has been sold, up from 373 kilogrammes sold by the same period last year.

The seed sold is enough to cover production of 100 000 hectares of the golden leaf.

A corresponding increase in farmers registering to grow tobacco has also been recorded with industry statistics indicating 98 800 farmers have registered.

This is a 21 percent increase in grower registration from 81 000 farmers who had registered to produce tobacco by the same period last year.

46 600 communal farmers make up the bulk of farmers who have registered followed by 38 000 A1 farmers.

On the export front, 59.7 million kilogrammes of tobacco valued at US$266 million has been exported, marking an increase from 51 million kilogrammes exported by July last year.

China has maintained dominance as the leading tobacco export destination followed by South Africa, Belgium, United Arab Emirates and Indonesia.