Livingstone Marufu Business Reporter
TOBACCO farmers have grossed more than $450 million from 154,9 million kilogrammes that have been delivered after 58 days into the 2017 marketing season. This is a gain of more than $25 million on revenues realised over the same period a year ago. Cumulatively, the country has so far earned $672 million compared to $673 million in 2016, while exports have dropped to $222 million from $248 million last year.
A total of 45,7 million kg of tobacco has been exported to 48 countries in 2017.
This marketing season, average tobacco auction prices have weakened by 1 percent to $2, 90 per kg from $2,92 in 2016.
Statistics from the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board’s Day 58 bulletin show that China accounted for over 13,8 million kg valued at $114,5 million, while South Africa bought 3,5 million kg for $7,7 million.
China has been spending over $200 million per annum on Zimbabwean tobacco.
“The golden leaf is presently being exported to these countries at an average price of $4, 71 a kg compared to $6,16 (in) the same period last year.”
Indonesia has spent $11,2 million on 2,4 million kg and Belgium has bought 4,8 million kg valued at $7,9 million.
Russia has purchased 2,6 million kg worth $7,9 million at an average price of $3,03 per kg.
Other buyers include the United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Hong Kong, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Sudan and Tanzania.
But the number of tobacco farmers for the 2015/2016 farming season has increased by 23 percent margin from 71 728 to 95 274 recorded this season.
The Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union highlighted that the total area planted has increased this year due to good rainfall patterns.
New growers increased by 90 percent from 9 767 in 2016 to 18 522 in 2017.
A total of 16 617 growers have sold through the auction system and 48 896 growers through the contract system.
Seed sales increased by 331 percent from 7,75kg in 2016 to 33, 45kg in 2017.
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.