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British American Tobacco Output in Uganda May Climb

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- British American Tobacco Plc’s Ugandan unit may boost output by 29 percent next year as it controls pests and diseases that destroyed the crop this year, the company said.

Output in the 12 months through December may climb to 18,000 metric tons in 2011, from a projected 14,000 tons this year, Solomon Muyita, the corporate and regulatory affairs coordinator at BAT Uganda Ltd., said today in an e-mailed response to questions from the capital, Kampala.

Production will decline from 19,600 tons last year because of “a significant viral infestation” and pests’ destruction of the crop, he said.

BAT Uganda, which has contracted about 30,000 farmers to produce an estimated 0.4 hectare (1 acre) of the crop, produces mainly flue-cured tobacco, which is dried in a closed barn with heat piped from a furnace, and burley, treated in the open air, according to the company. Small quantities of lower-quality dark fire-cured tobacco are also produced.

Total output in Uganda may decline 30 percent this year from 30,000 tons in 2009, though production may recover to 35,000 tons next year because of efforts to contain the disease and pests, Muyita said.

“Other leaf producers have also been affected by the disease and overall we estimate that the national tobacco production is down by 30 percent compared with 2009,” he said.

Uganda ranks alongside Zambia as Africa’s fourth-biggest tobacco producer, after Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Malawi, according to the website of Universal Corp., the world’s biggest merchant of the leaves.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Ojambo in Kampala at fojambo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net

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