SOUTH Africa has displaced China as the dominant export market for Zimbabwean tobacco, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board has said.
Information from the TIMB indicates that as at February 27, South Africa maintained the top
position having bought 7,5 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf valued at US$22,8 million.
The tobacco was sold at an average price of US$3,02 per kilogramme.
South Africa has been dominating the regional market.
The country has since overtaken China, which has dropped to third position.
The United Arab Emirates occupies second spot having maintained its place among the top buyers of the golden leaf.
The top five tobacco export markets for Zimbabwe's tobacco are South Africa, UAE, China, Hong Kong and Sudan.
Last year, China, Belgium, Indonesia, South Africa and Russia were among the top five during the same period.
Zimbabwe has so far earned US$82 million from tobacco exports to different destinations.
The country produces tobacco and exports semi-processed leaf.
Japan is offering the highest price for tobacco at US$10, 03 per kilogramme, followed by China offering US$9,20 per kilogramme and India offering US$8,86 per kilogramme.
In 2012, agriculture grew by 4,6 percent with tobacco being the main component behind this growth.
The crop accounted for 10,7 percent of the GDP in 2012 and constituted 21,8 percent of all total exports, compared to 9,2 percent for other agriculture commodities.
This compares favourably with the 61,1 percent contribution by all minerals combined.
The economic benefits of tobacco are expected to increase in view of more and more growers increasing their production or, diversifying or switching to the crop.