New Zimbabwe (London)

5 May 2014

Zimbabwe: U.S $358 Million Raised From 112 Million kgs of Tobacco Sold

AT least 111.6 million kilogrammes of tobacco worth US$358 million have has been sold since the 2014 marketing season opened in February this year, according to the latest statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB).

The volume of the golden leaf sold so far is a 23.6 per cent increase on the 90.3 million kg of tobacco worth US$334.7 million sold during the comparable period last year, the TIMB data show.

Of the total, 78.1 million kg of tobacco were sold through contract sales while the remainder went under the hammer.

The seasonal average price of the tobacco this season was US$3.21 per kg, a drop of 13.4 per cent from US$3.71 per kg of last year. This year's tobacco selling season had opened on a low note with depressed prices of below US$2.0 per kg.

When the marketing season closed last year, at least 166.5 million kg of tobacco had been sold at an average price of 3.70 USD per kg, realising US$616.1 million in sales.

The government has forecast this year's output at 170 million kg after many farmers turned to tobacco and abandoned other cash crops which yield less attractive producer prices.

Since the adoption of multiple foreign currencies in Zimbabwe, principally the US dollar, the tobacco industry has become one of the fastest to recover from the economic meltdown of the past decade.

The sector has seen a rebound as 103,941 farmers registered to sell tobacco this season.

Many farmers have been shifting to tobacco because of the favourable prices and abandoned other crops, particularly maize and cotton.

Tobacco is one of Zimbabwe's major agricultural exports, accounting for 10.7 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

Export destinations for Zimbabwean tobacco include Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, China, Sudan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand, Montenegro and Russia.

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