Zimbabwe is set to ease its foreign currency challenges after the country reported record breaking tobacco sales for the 2017/18 marketing season.
Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s highest foreign currency earner followed by gold. In 2017 tobacco exports topped $900m, which was a marginal decrease from $933m from the previous season.
As of Thursday, a total 237 million kilogrammes of tobacco valued at $692.1m had been sold, beating the all-time high of 236 million kilogrammes sold in 2001.
With the tobacco selling season still left with just above a week to close, output is now expected to go above the 240 million level, well above last year’s marketing season’s 190 million kgs that were sold.
Crop production had come down significantly after the southern African country embarked on a land reform programme that saw some experienced farmers getting displaced from the farms.
Newly resettled farmers have, however, gained experience over the years and have being growing output to the current record breaking levels.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) was expecting a tobacco crop of approximately 200 million kilograms this year despite late and heavy rains and crop pest outbreaks which damaged crops.
The quality of the crop was surprisingly good with the average price per kg amounting to $2.92 up from $2.79 in the 2016/17 season.
Zimbabwe exports its tobacco to more than 47 countries including South Africa.