Zim rakes in US$526 million from tobacco
Harare(New Ziana)-Zimbabwean farmers have so far sold 259 million kilograms of tobacco worth US$526 million, surpassing the record-breaking 252 million kilograms produced last year.
According to statistics released on day 124 of sale, the US$526 million realised so far from the tobacco sales, is however 28.6 percent lower than the US$737.4 million of the comparable period last year.
While auction floors ended last week when mop- up sales were conducted, contract sales are continuing until all contracted tobacco has been delivered and sold.
The tobacco is being sold at an average price of US$2.03 per kg, which is 30.3 percent lower than last year’s US$2.92 per kg.
The crop being sold this year was grown under grim weather conditions characterised by late rains and prolonged dry spells, particularly when it was almost ready for harvesting.
Once a preserve for white commercial farmers, tobacco is arguably one of the success stories of agriculture in the post-land reform era.
This year, the number of registered growers increased to 185 892 from about 145 695 farmers who sold tobacco in 2018.
Tobacco is the country’s second biggest foreign currency earner, after minerals, though the bulk of the crop is exported in its raw form with the exports generating in excess of US$1 billion annually.
Zimbabwean tobacco is exported to countries in Africa, America, Europe, European Union, and the Middle East among others.
At least 94.2 million kilogrammes of flue- cured tobacco worth US$ 358 million has been exported this year alone.