Senior Agriculture Reporter
Zimbabwe has exported tobacco worth more than US$80 million as companies selling to the Far East have started moving the crop to South Africa.
Last year, global tobacco movements were affected by Covid-19.
There has been an increase in the exports with 15 777 tonnes worth US$80 630 152 having been exported by local companies so far compared to 573 tonnes worth US$17 306 655 tonnes traded during the same period last year.
The Far-East was the top destination for Zimbabwean tobacco with local companies exporting 190 153 tonnes of worth US$67 496 051.
The Middle East imported 2 614 tonnes worth U$6 487 809 from Zimbabwe, while the European Union bought 1 543 tonnes worth US$ 3 714 682. African countries have also imported 927 tonnes valued at US$2 062 607, while the Americas bought 14 tonnes worth US$1 728.
TIMB spokesperson Ms Chelesani Moyo yesterday confirmed the increase in tobacco exports. “Companies mainly exporting to the Far East have already started moving their tobacco to South Africa for storage in order to secure shipping lines earlier as pending contracts between countries are being finalised.
“During the same period last year, due to the Covid pandemic, efficient shipment of goods was affected as some shipping lines cancelled their vessels and hence movement was affected,” she said.
Zimbabwe exports its semi-processed tobacco to different destinations that include the Far East, European Union, Africa, Middle East, Europe, the Americas and Oceania.
Zimbabwe used to be a net exporter of tobacco, but some companies have sprouted and are now processing cigarettes locally and exporting the finished product.
TIMB has always been emphasising on developing good brands for the market.
Zimbabwe is producing cigar wrapper tobacco in Burma Valley and exporting it.
Tobacco production has been on the increase in Zimbabwe since the land reform programme.
More than 140 000 farmers now engage in tobacco production, while close to one million people are directly dependent on the golden leaf.
Tobacco generates 30 percent of the country’s foreign currency, bringing in over US$600 million annually.