HARARE – While the 2013 tobacco selling season officially ended on July 5 after 99 days of trading, contract sales continue to trickle in taking the funds realised by farmers to $598 million.
Market watchers contend that the current season is one of the most successful tobacco seasons since the country embarked on the controversial land reform programme.
Last year 144 million kg of flue-cured tobacco worth $527 million was sold in 145 days compared to 168 million kg this year.
Figures from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) shows that on day 108 339 023 kg of tobacco went under the hammer and fetched over $1 250 million at an average price of $3,69 compared to the same period last season when 473 740 kg of tobacco were sold for $508 169 at an average price of $1,07.
The 2013 sales are expected to reach the 170 million kg target.
To date, contract sales have contributed $409 million from the sale of 109 million kg of the golden leaf while the three auction floors have chipped in with the remaining 53 million kg worth $189 million.
Boka Tobacco Floors closed seasonal sales of 18,7 million kg valued at $66 million at an average price of $3,51 per kg, while Premier Tobacco Floors sold 13,5 million kg worth $47 million at an average price of $3,51 per kg.
Tobacco Sales Floor sold 21 million kg worth $76 million at an average price of $3,59 per kg.
In burley tobacco sales, 241 925 kg valued at $364 619 were sold, a 96 percent change as compared 9 415 kg worth $22 164 during the same period last year.
The seasonal average price for burley tobacco on day 46 was $1,51 per kg compared to last year when the prices averaged $2,35 per kg.
To date the highest prices recorded in burley has been $2,80 per kg while the lowest price was $0,60 per kg.
Dark air cured tobacco statistics showed 61 832 kg valued at $95 250 had been sold while 145 456 kg worth $223 698 was sold last year.
Tobacco is one of the country’s major agricultural exports, accounting for 10,7 percent of gross domestic product.
Major export destinations for Zimbabwean tobacco include South Africa, China, United Kingdom, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius and Russia.