Tawanda Musarurwa Senior Business Reporter
Zimbabwe has so far earned $216,8 million after exporting 51,3 million kilogrammes of tobacco to 52 countries, a setback of $72,8 million on export earnings realised during the same period last year.
According to Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB)’s latest weekly bulletin during the same period in 2017 the country exported 64 million kg, earning $289 million in the process.
China, South Africa, Indonesia, Belgium,
the United Arab Emirates and Russia are the main buyers of Zimbabwe’s Virginia tobacco crop.
Top buyer China has accounted for over 10,5 million kg valued at $70,2 million while South Africa comes in second having bought 8,9 million kg valued at $25,4 million.
With an estimated 350 million smokers, China has been spending over $200 million per annum on Zimbabwean tobacco, regarded among the best in the world.
Indonesia has so far bought 6,4 million kg valued at $27,9 million.
Belgium has so far bought 5,2 million kg worth $18,2 million, followed by the United Arab Emirates, which has spent $7,8 million on 4 million kg.
Russia has bought 2,4 million kg worth $8,8 million.
Other main buyers of Zimbabwean tobacco are Vietnam, Hong Kong, Iran, Sudan, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Nigeria, Taiwan, Spain and Tanzania among others.
Meanwhile, tobacco farmers have grossed $700,9 million from 239,8 million kilogrammes that have been delivered 85 days into the 2018 marketing season.
The tobacco marketing season ends this Friday.
The 239,8 million kg that have been sold at both the contract and auction floors is an all-time record.
Contract tobacco is dominating the trade, accounting 204,5 million kg of the total. And contract farmers have racked in $603,9 million, compared to the $97 million accrued by farmers selling at the auction floors.
During the same period last year Zimbabwe’s tobacco farmers delivered over 178,2 million kg for $527,5 million, reflecting a 33 percent improvement in terms of earnings this year.
The average price at the auction floors is $2,75 per kg against $2,95 being offered to contract farmers.
Meanwhile, the average price is $2,92.
Previously a preserve for commercial farmers, tobacco is fast becoming an attractive source of livelihood for many Zimbabwean small-scale and communal farmers.
Latest TIMB figures show that 16 758 new tobacco growers have registered for the 2018 /2019 season to date.