Harare (New Ziana)-Tobacco farmers have grossed US$483.2 million from the sale of 160.1 million kilograms of tobacco, statistics released by the industry regulator show.
During the comparable period last year, farmers had sold 177.2 million kg of tobacco worth US$487.8 million.
According to statistics released by the Tobacco industry and Marketing Board on day 59 of sales, farmers sold 149.7 million kg of tobacco via the contract system and slightly over 10 million kg through auction.
The tobacco is being sold at an average price of $3.02 per kg, up from $2.75 during the comparable period last year.
The tobacco being sold this year was grown under very challenging weather conditions, characterised by a late and false start of the rains, followed by incessant and excessive rains in January causing water logging, nutrient leaching, and disrupting weeding and other agronomic operations.
Prices of tobacco are higher this year due to reduced volumes as a result of a bad rainfall season.
Tobacco is the country’s biggest agricultural export, and second largest single commodity export after gold, raking in around US$800 million last year.
At least 122 000 growers registered to grow and sell tobacco this season, with 95 percent of them under the contract system.