Harare (New Ziana)-Tobacco farmers have sold 83,2 million kg of tobacco worth US$247, 7 million in 30 days of sale, statistics released by the industry regulator show.
According to the statistics, of the total volume sold, 77.4 million kg of tobacco was sold through the contract system while the remainder went through the hammer.
The tobacco was being sold at an average price of $2.98 per kg up from $2.67 during the last season, because the quality of the crop is good, said the regulator.
The tobacco being sold this year was grown under very challenging weather conditions, characterised by late rains, followed by incessant and excessive rains in January causing water logging, nutrient leaching, and disrupting weeding and other agronomic operations.
Tobacco is the country’s biggest agricultural export, and second largest single commodity export after gold, raking in around US$800 million last year.
Tobacco output has grown from 48 million kilogrammes in 2008 to over 200 million kilogrammes now, and the bulk of this is accounted for by small scale resettled farmers.
Meanwhile, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board said the deadline for destruction of tobacco stalks has been extended to 25 May.
Traditionally, tobacco stalks should be destroyed by May 15th of every year.
It said the extension was a result of the late rains received in the last production season, as some farmers still need to finish reaping after the 15th of May.
“Against this backdrop, all tobacco growers are notified that the 2022 deadline for destruction of tobacco stalks has been extended to the 25th of May 2022. However, tobacco growers are encouraged to destroy tobacco stalks immediately after harvesting,” it said.
Currently, only 18 percent of Zimbabwe’s tobacco crop is grown under irrigation, and the intention is to expand this to at least 40 percent.