Leaf tobacco production has shifted from high-income countries to developing countries in the last decade, according to the WHO report. Tobacco cultivation area declined by 15.66 per cent globally between 2012 and 2018; in Africa it increased by 3.40 per cent, the report said. In 2018, global tobacco leaf production was 6.3 million tonnes, while in Africa it was 722,187 tonnes, representing 11.4 per cent of global production.
East Africa accounts for 90.43 per cent of tobacco leaf production in Africa. The main tobacco leaf growing countries in Africa are Zimbabwe (25.9 per cent of Africa’s output), Zambia (16.4 per cent), Tanzania (14.4 per cent), Malawi (13.3 per cent) and Mozambique (12.9 per cent).
According to the report, the area under tobacco cultivation in Africa increased for a number of reasons, including a more favourable regulatory environment as well as an increasing demand for tobacco.
The number of tobacco users in the WHO Africa Region increased from 64 million adult users in 2000 to 73 million in 2018, an increase that contrasted with a decline in the number of tobacco users globally, which fell from 1,397 million to 1,337 million over the same period.