A total of 183,4 million kilograms of tobacco worth $540,3 million have been sold so far since the selling season opened in March this year, statistics that the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) released show.
This is less than the 201,4 million kg of tobacco worth $639,9 million that was sold last year at an average price of $3,19 per kg.
The seasonal average price stood at $2,95 per kg as at day 87 of sales.
Auction floors are closing next Wednesday while contract sales will continue until all the contracted tobacco has been delivered.
Projections are that Zimbabwe will exceed the target of 190 million kg of tobacco this year.
The Government set a lower target this year due to a challenging farming season characterised by late and patchy rains.
Last year, Zimbabwe produced 216 million kg of tobacco, the highest that the country has achieved since 2000 when production peaked at 236,6 million kg.
The poor season this year mostly affected A1 and communal farmers since they do not have irrigation facilities.
Poor prices also dominated the selling season, with the lowest price being $0, 60 per kg.
Since the adoption of multiple foreign currencies in 2009, the tobacco industry has become one of the fastest to recover from the economic challenges of the past decade, resulting in many farmers abandoning other cash crops such as cotton.
Tobacco is one of the major agricultural exports, accounting for 10, 7 percent of the Zimbabwean Gross Domestic Product. — New Ziana.