Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
South Africa has become one of the major tobacco export destinations for Zimbabwe, occupying the second place in the list of major buyers, statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board show.
TIMB’s 2015 seasonal exports statistics show that Zimbabwe has earned $224 million from the sale of 35,2 million kilogrammes of semi-processed tobacco this year.
This is an increase from the 16,4 million kg of tobacco worth $58,6 million exported during the corresponding period last year.
Of the exported crop, South Africa has bought 4,2 million kg worth $14,1 million at an average price of $3,30 per kg.
By the same period last year, South Africa had imported 1,5 million kg of tobacco worth $6,3 million from Zimbabwe at $4,19 per kg.
China, which is the major consumer of Zimbabwean tobacco, has so far imported 19,6 million kg worth $168 million at $8,58 per kg.
China is offering the highest price, followed by the Seychelles at $8,30 per kg, Hong Kong ($7,91) and Bulgaria and Singapore ($6,22).
The United States is among the top five buyers of Zimbabwean tobacco, purchasing 970 000 kg of tobacco worth $4,2 million so far this season.
Other countries that consume tobacco from Zimbabwe include Russia, Yemen, Germany and Viet- nam.
In Africa, Zimbabwe exports its tobacco to Malawi, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia and Botswana.
Tobacco from Zimbabwe is usually used for blending purposes and is popular for its high quality and flavour.
The “golden leaf” accounts for about 16 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in Zimbabwe.