HARARE: Zimbabwe has sold 201,052,892 kilograms of tobacco leaf worth 614,274,983 U.S. dollars since the marketing season opened in March despite the crop being grown under difficult conditions, according to statistics released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) on Friday.
Besides being close to matching last year’s output, the value of the crop sold so far this year has surpassed last year’s figure, reflecting firmer prices that were obtained in the market due to good quality leaf. Zimbabwe sold 207,176,784 kg of the golden leaf valued at 578,782,797 U.S. dollars during the same period last year.
When the selling season officially closed on July 20, 2022, growers had sold 187 million kg of tobacco leaf valued at 569 million U.S. dollars.
This year’s volume is set to further increase or surpass last year’s output as contract sales are still ongoing until further notice.
Despite the slight decline in output so far compared to last year, tobacco leaf fetched much higher prices this year, with the 614.2 million U.S. dollars earnings representing a 6.13 percent increase from last year’s value of 579 million U.S. dollars.
Despite being grown under difficult conditions characterized by erratic rainfall, this year’s crop fetched higher prices, with the seasonal price averaging above 3 U.S. dollars per kg compared to 2.79 U.S. dollars per kg last year.
The bulk of Zimbabwe’s tobacco leaf is sold through contract floors, with 95 percent of the crop grown under the contract system while only 5 percent of farmers self-finance their crop production, which they then sell through auction floors.
Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s second foreign currency earner after gold, with China and South Africa being the major buyers of the golden leaf.