Golden leaf rakes in $300m

Source: Golden leaf rakes in $300m | The Sunday Mail May 1, 2016

Livingstone Marufu
ZIMBABWE has earned more than $301 million from tobacco sales as at April 26, 2016, with exports climbing to $229 million from $223 million a year earlier, raising expectations farmers will get reasonable earnings from the current marketing season, which began on March 30.
At the same time last year, the country had managed to generate $262 million. A total of 37,4 million kilogrammes of tobacco has been exported to 36 countries since the beginning of the year.

So far, farmers have delivered 27,6 million kilogrammes to the market, earning $73, 6 million at an average price of $2,67 per kg against, an 8,7 percent increase from a year ago ($2,50 per kg).

China remains the biggest consumer of local tobacco.
Statistics from the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) show that China bought more than 20,2 million kgs valued at $163,8 million, while South Africa bought 5, 5 million kgs for $16,8 million.

With an estimated 350 million smokers, China has been spending over $200 million per annum on Zimbabwean tobacco.
Part the TIMB’s recent bulletin reads: “As of last week (Thursday), 37,4 million kg were exported to more than 30 countries so far, generating $228, 9 million into the local economy.

The golden leaf is presently being exported to these countries at an average price of $6,12 a kg compared to $6,38 (in) the same period last year.”

Belgium has so far bought 1,95 million kgs worth US$9,8 million (average price of $5,06/kg), followed by Indonesia which has spent $9,8million on 1,7 million kgs, while Russia stands at 1,69 million kgs worth $5,28 million.

Other buyers include the United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Hong Kong, France, Netherlands, Germany, Holland, Sudan and Tanzania.

Meanwhile, during the 2015/2016 tobacco farming season, the number of farmers producing the golden leaf dropped from 92 430 to 71 728 registered in the previous season.

The Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union said, “The current situation is that there is a decline in the total area planted between the two years by 4 percent.

“Lack of confidence in market prices and poor rains are some of the reasons the planted area has gone down.
“This is witnessed by the drop in the number of registered growers for the 2015/16 season.”