Tobacco exports hit $500m mark

via Tobacco exports hit $500m mark | The Herald October 29, 2015

The country has so far exported 97,3 million kilogrammes of tobacco this year, up from 88,7 million kg over the same period last year, earning $500 million, statistics from the industry regulator show.

In its latest bulletin, Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said Zimbabwe had exported 97,3 million kg of tobacco at an average price of $5,13 per kg compared to 88,7 million kg worth $471 million at $5,31 per kg last year.

China imported 27,8 million kg of tobacco at an average price of $8,24 per kg totalling $230 million.

Belgium is the second largest buyer and has so far bought 13,7 million kg worth $61,3 million at an average price of $4,45 per kg. South Africa has imported 10,7 million kg worth $32 million at $2,97 per kg.

TIMB said a total of 57 492 growers have registered for the 2015/ 16 season compared to 76 545 who had registered in the corresponding period last year.

Of the total number of registered growers, 9 983 are new farmers. Tobacco has become one of the country’s major foreign currency earners, with close to 92 000 farmers growing the crop as at 2014 /15 season.

Seasonal tobacco sales for 2015 were 198,7 million kg compared to 216,1 million kg in 2014. Most farmers have abandoned traditional crops like maize and cotton in preference of tobacco, but lack of expertise and unsuitable conditions have resulted in a number of farmers producing a poor crop.

Last season, most tobacco growers complained about low prices while merchants argued the crop quality was poor. — New Ziana