Harare (New Ziana) – At least 289.6 million kilograms of tobacco worth US $877.7 million has been sold so far at auction and contract floors in the country since the selling season opened in March, statistics from the industry regulator show.
The record output of tobacco is a result of good rains and also because 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.
In an update on day 88 of sale, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said sales incomes had gone up 45.8 percent from US$601.7 million recorded in the same period last year after the sale of 197.2 million kg of tobacco.
Of the total volume of tobacco sold, 269.8 million kilogrammes were marketed via the contract system, while the remainder went under the hammer.
The average price for auction and contract floors stood at US$3.03 per kg, which is 0.66 percent lower than the US$3.05 of the 2022 marketing season.
The highest price stood at US$6.20 per kg while the lowest was at $0.10.
Rejected bales increased to 100 620 from 74 741 recorded in the same period last year.
Sales are being conducted in Harare as well as five decentralised centres in Karoi, Mvurwi, Bindura, Marondera and Rusape.
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.