Zimbabwe has so far sold tobacco worth US$740 million as compared to US$848 million sold last year during the same period.

Tobacco sales reach 50 million kg

A TOTAL of 50.1 million kilogrammes of tobacco worth US$176.6 million have been sold so far at both auction and contract floors in the country since the selling season opened in March, statistics from the industry regulator show.

Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s second largest foreign currency earner after gold with the production of the golden leaf 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 12.74 percent from US$133.4 million recorded in the same period last year when 44.5 million kg were sold.

Of the total volume of tobacco sold, 47 million kg were marketed via the contract system, while only 3 million kg went under the hammer. The average price for auction and contract floors stood at US$3.52 per kg, which is 17.2 percent lower than the US$3.01 of the 2023 marketing season.

The highest price stood at US$6.99 per kg while the lowest was at $0.10. 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.

The government has expressed concern that the country still exports 98 percent of its tobacco in raw form, exporting jobs and value in the process. Last year, Zimbabwean tobacco farmers produced 296 million kg, the country’s biggest ever crop, but this year output is expected to fall to around 235 million kg owing to the El Ninoinduced drought. — New Ziana

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