Tobacco fetches $65 million in two weeks

At least 23.7 million kilogrammes of tobacco worth $65.4 million has been sold so far at both auction and contract sales floors since the marketing season opened last month, statistics from the industry regulator show.

Garikai Fadzi

Previously a preserve for commercial farmers, tobacco is fast becoming an attractive source of livelihood for many Zimbabwean small scale and communal farmers.

This year,128 444 farmers have registered to sell tobacco buoyed an increased tobacco export incentive by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

Statistics released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board on day 15 of sale show that the volume of tobacco sold so far is 9.2 percent lower than 26.2 million kg sold during the comparable period last year.

The average price of the crop is slightly higher at $2.75 per kg compared to $2.67 during the same period last year.

Zimbabwe is expecting about 200 million kg of tobacco to be produced this season.

In the last season, the country earned over $600 million from over 190 million kg of the golden leaf produced.

This year the crop was grown under two extremes of weather characterised by delayed rains in the first half of the season and excessive rains in the second half of the season.