TOBACCO earnings have gone past $506 million from the 171,79 million kilogrammes that have been delivered 75 days into the 2017 marketing season.
During the same period in 2016, farmers had delivered 177,6 million kilogrammes worth $521,4 million – a decrease of over $25 million on revenues realised over the same period a year ago.
Cumulatively, the country has so far earned $760 million compared to $787 million in 2016, while exports have dropped to $256 million from $266 million last year.
A total of 56, 8 million kg of tobacco were exported to 48 countries in 2017. This marketing season, average tobacco auction prices have remained flat at $2, 95/ kg.
Statistics from the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board’s latest bulletin show that China accounted for over 13,8 million kgs valued at $114,5 million while South Africa bought 5,2 million kgs for $13, 8 million.
With an estimated 350 million smokers, China has been spending over $200 million per annum on Zimbabwean tobacco.
Part of the TIMB bulletin reads, “As of June 30, 56,8 million kg were exported to more than 48 countries so far, generating $257,46 million into the local economy. The golden leaf is presently being exported to these countries at an average price of $4, 53 a kg compared to $5,40 last year.”
Indonesia has spent $15,7 million on 3,4 million kg and Belgium has bought 5,7 million kg valued at $10,2 million. Russia has purchased 2,6 million kg worth $8 million at an average price of $2,97 per kg.
Other buyers include the United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Hong Kong, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Sudan and Tanzania. The Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union highlighted that the total area planted has increased this year due to good rainfall patterns.
New growers increased by 103 percent to 54 806 in 2016 to 26 995 in 2016. A total of 16 617 growers have sold through the auction system and 48 896 growers through the contract system.
Seed sales increased by 331percent to 33,45kg in 2017 from 7,75kg in 2016.The e-marketing system has stabilised a bit; however, there is still need to increase the speed of the biding process and users training.
Cash challenges continue as some banks are failing to meet the withdrawal limits set by RBZ.
Experts forecast a harvest of around 205 million kg this season against a total of 201 million kg last year.