Tawanda Musarurwa — Zimbabwe has so far earned $184,3 million after exporting 45,2 million kg of tobacco to 49 countries, a setback of 76 million on export earnings realised during the same period last year.
According to Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) during the same period in 2017 the country exported 58 million kg, earning $260 million in the process.
The fall in tobacco exports to $184,3 million from $260 million represents 29 percent decline.
China, South Africa, Indonesia, Belgium and the United Arab Emirates are the main buyers of Zimbabwe's Virginia tobacco crop.
Top buyer China accounted for over 7,8 million kg valued at $51,2 million while South Africa comes in second having bought 7,5 million kg valued at $22,2 million," reads part of the TIMB's latest weekly bulletin.
With an estimated 350 million smokers, China has been spending over $200 million per annum on Zimbabwean tobacco, regarded among the best in the world.
Indonesia has so far bought
5,8 million kg valued at $26 million.
Belgium has so far bought 4,7 million kg worth $15 million, followed by the United Arab Emirates, which has spent $7,8 million on 4 million kg.
Russia has bought 2,2 million kg worth $7,9 million.
Other main buyers of Zimbabwean tobacco are Vietnam, Hong Kong, Iran, Sudan, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Nigeria, Taiwan, Spain and Tanzania among others.
Meanwhile, tobacco farmers have grossed $654,6 million
from 226,6 million kilogrammes that have been delivered 73
days into the 2018 marketing season.
During the same period last year farmers have delivered over 170 million kg for $501 million, a $153 million gain from last year's earnings.
The average price at the auction floors is $2,77 per kg against $2,91 being offered to contract farmers.
Meanwhile, the average price is $2,89.
TIMB has projected an output of 200 million kg.