Zimbabwe has earned $470 million from the sale of 161 million kilogrammes of tobacco since the 2017 selling season opened on March 15 this year, statistics that the industry regulator released show.
According to the figures that the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board released on day 63 of sales, the golden leaf is being sold at an average price of $2,92 per kg. During the comparable period last year, about 157 million kg of tobacco worth $461 million had been sold at an average price of $2,94 per kg.
TIMB public relations and communications manager Isheunesu Moyo said a consultative meeting of stakeholders would be held this week to come up with the date when sales could close this year. “Deliveries have gone down because we have passed the peak of the season. The consultative process for closing date and mop up sales will determine the close of the season,” he said.
VOLUMES of tobacco, which has been exported so far now stands at 42.5 million kg, a 14 percent rise from those exported in the corresponding period last year, statistics released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show.
In its weekly tobacco bulletin, the TIMB said revenue from tobacco exports for this year currently stand at $204.3 million, an 11 percent drop from $228.7 million grossed during the same period last year.
The tobacco crop is being exported at an average price of $4,81 per kg. China, Belgium, South Africa and Korea have been the major buyers of the flue-cured crop out of 46 countries.
China remains the top destination for local tobacco, after buying 13.8 million kg worth $114.4 million at an average price of $8,28 per kg. The second largest buyer is Belgium, which imported 4.7 million kg valued at $7.9 million while exports to Korea were 2.3 million kg valued at $10.6 million.
South Africa has topped the buyer’s list in Africa, buying 3.2 million kg of the golden leaf valued at $6.7 million. Meanwhile, TIMB said deliveries at both auction and contract sales rose significantly from a daily average of 3 million kg to current 4 million kg per day.
Tobacco farmers are struggling to get their money at auction floors, as the country’s severe cash crunch continues to worsen.
This is despite the government’s recent directive to banks to pay tobacco farmers $1 000 for their initial sales.
Frustrated farmers who spoke to the Daily News yesterday confirmed that they had battled over the past three weeks to access money from both banking halls and at automated teller machines (ATMs). This had seen many of them sleeping out in the open on empty tummies, as they waited to access their money.
TOBACCO auction and contract seasonal sales rose by 42%, raking in $125,83 million as of Wednesday last week compared to the same period last year as deliveries increased ahead of the Easter and Independence holiday.
The Easter and Independence holidays ran from Friday up to yesterday.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) spokesperson Isheanesu Moyo told NewsDay yesterday that though the current tobacco season was benefitting from the rainy season, last week saw tobacco farmers rush to the floors in search of cash ahead of the holidays.
“The deliveries this season are generally higher, although due to the holidays people wanted to raise money for the holidays because the floors were going to be closed from Friday through to Tuesday (yesterday). People wanted to make money for the holidays so that they could use that money. But, generally this season is better than last season in terms of deliveries,” he said.