Livingstone Marufu Business Reporter
Tobacco farmers have received $163,8 million after delivering 58,3 million kg to the floors during the first 25 days of the 2018 tobacco marketing season giving them a price rise of 3,6 percent.
In 2017, farmers had delivered 58,5 million kg worth $159 million the same period last year.
Reads part of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board report: “Tobacco farmers have delivered 58,3 million kg and have earned $163,8 million in the process.
“And the very beauty of this is that farmers are earning an average price of $2, 81 per kg against last year’s $2,71/kg. This means that this year’s prices are more attractive than last year, which is a good sign for the farmers.”
Contractors have delivered over 48,9 million kg earning $137,5 million in the process, while the auction floors have 9,4 million kg worth $26,2million. Contracted farmers sold their tobacco for an average price of $2, 81/kg against $2, 77/kg on auction floors.
So far, Zimbabwe has earned $123,4 million from 28,4million kilogrammes of tobacco exported mainly to Indonesia and China since the beginning of 2018.
Tobacco has been exported to 39 countries.
TIMB’s latest weekly bulletin shows that China accounted for over 7,09 million kg valued at $47,4 million while Indonesia bought 3,1 million kg for $15,1 million. However, the tobacco export proceeds are $85 million behind last year’s exports for the same period.
With an estimated 350 million smokers, China has been spending over $200 million per annum on Zimbabwean tobacco.
During the same period last year tobacco exports generated $205,2 million from 42,6 million kg. Tobacco is presently being exported to these countries at an average price of $4,43/kg compared to $4,81 (during) the same period last year.
Belgium has bought 3,2 million kg for $8,7 million at an average price of $2,73 per kg.
South Africa has so far bought 2,4 million kg worth $6,8 million (average price of $2,76/kg), followed by Russia , which has spent $5,9 million on 1,8 million kg, while Sudan stands at 1,5 million worth $4,4 million.
Other buyers are from Bulgaria, Vietnam, Hong Kong, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Nigeria, Taiwan, Spain and Tanzania. Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s biggest foreign currency earner followed by gold. Last year tobacco exports topped $900 million, which was a marginal decrease from $933 million the previous season.
Across the country, the area put under tobacco has slightly decreased from 110 518 hectares last year to 104 397ha. Mashonaland Central now has about 29 117 hectares under tobacco, while Mashonaland East and West have 34 956 ha and 18 674ha respectively. Midlands, Masvingo and Matabeleland South have the least number of hectares under the golden leaf at 298ha, 48ha and 2ha, respectively.
According to the TIMB bulletin, the total number of new tobacco growers has gone up to 34 550 this season from 16 462 recorded in the same period last season.
Experts have forecast tobacco output of 200 million kg this year.