Zimbabwe earned $904 million from its tobacco crop in the 51 weeks to December 22, 2017, 2,4 percent lower than the $926,3 million achieved in the comparable period in 2016.
Statistics from the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board’s latest weekly bulletin, show that Zimbabwe exported 182 million kilogrammes of tobacco exported to mainly South Africa and China since the beginning of 2017.
China accounted for over 60,7 million kg valued at $479,05 million while South Africa bought 24,1 million kg for $78,1 million.
With an estimated 350 million smokers, China has been spending over $200 million per annum on Zimbabwean tobacco.
Part of the TIMB weekly bulletin reads: “As at December 22, 182, 2 million kg were exported to 62 countries so far, generating $904,1 million into the local economy.
“During the same period last year tobacco exports generated $926,3 million from 163,4 million kg. The golden leaf is presently being exported to these countries at an average price of $4, 96 a kg compared to $5, 67 during the same period last year.
“Belgium has so far bought 22,01 million kg worth $66,4 million (average price of $3,09/kg), followed by Indonesia that has spent $40,8 million on 9,7 million kg, while United Arab Emirates stands at 9,04 million kg worth $17,1 million.”
Other buyers include Russia, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Hong Kong, France, Netherlands, Germany, Holland, Sudan, Spain and Tanzania.
Last year tobacco exports topped $933 million, which was a marginal surge from $855 million from the previous season.
During the 2017 marketing season, farmers sold 189 million kilogrammes of flue-cured tobacco, with contract farmers contributing most of the deliveries at 158 million kg, while self-financed farmers weighed in with 31 million kg.
Meanwhile, farmers have planted more tobacco than last season.
Mashonaland Central Province is still leading all the country’s provinces in terms of the hectarage that has been put under flue-cured tobacco, having 13 568 hectares under the cash crop out of the 75 008 ha planted countrywide.
The TIMB bulletin showed that the 75 008 ha of tobacco planted throughout the country is a 0,9 percent increase from the 69 995ha planted in the same period last year.
The bulk of the hectarage, at 60 001 ha, is under dry land, while 14 991ha is under irrigation.