Zim records highest ever tobacco output
Harare (New Ziana)-Zimbabwe has recorded the highest tobacco output in almost 200 years with 261 million kilograms having been sold through both auction and contract systems so far, a Cabinet Minister said on Wednesday.
In a weekly post Cabinet briefing, Information Communication Technology Minister Jenfan Muswere said current production in the ongoing selling season has surpassed the country’s previous record of 259 kg of tobacco.
“Cabinet is pleased to advise that Zimbabwe has recorded the highest tobacco production in its 198 years of history. The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Honourable Dr Anxious Jongwe Masuka, reported that the country’s tobacco output in the ongoing 2023 marketing season currently stands at 261 million kilogrammes, surpassing the previous record of 259 million kilogrammes.
“This is on the backdrop of the fact that 85 percent of the tobacco is being produced by smallholder farmers, 60 percent of whom are beneficiaries of the Land Reform Programme, demonstrating that Government policies in the agriculture sector are sound and continue to bear fruit,” he said.
According to statistics released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board on day 65 of sale, farmers have earned US$793.2 million from the sale of tobacco since the onset of the selling season in March, with the crop selling at an average price of $3.02 per kg.
The record output of tobacco is a result of good rains and also more farmers planted the crop.
Tobacco is the country’s second largest foreign currency earner after gold. Farming of the golden leaf is arguably one of the success stories of agriculture in the post-land reform era.
At least 98 percent of the locally produced tobacco is however exported in semi-processed form and calls are growing for value to be added to the crop.