Tobacco farmers gross $729 million

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Chipo Sabeta

HARARE – Tobacco farmers have grossed $728, 7 million from 249,1 million kilogrammes that have been delivered 100 days into the 2018 marketing season.

This is the first time that tobacco farmers has broken the 19-year tobacco output record 238 million kg.

This is a gain of more than $180 million on revenues realised during the same period a year ago.

During the same period in 2017, farmers earned $548,7 million after delivering 184,8 million kg.

Having seen a 200 million plus output projections, international buyers raised the bar higher to $900 million from last year’s $700 million.

Latest Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) daily trade updates reads, “Tobacco farmers have so far grossed $728,7 million  after delivering 249,1 million kg. Of that contracted farmers have delivered 213,4 million kg earning $631,1 million, with floors only catering for  35,6 million kg and earning $97,5 million.”

The average price of the auction floor is $2, 74 per kg against $2,96 of contract farming.

Meanwhile, the overall average price has decreased by 1, 5 percent to $2,93/kg from last year’s $2,97.

“As far as tobacco export earnings are concerned, Zimbabwe has so far earned $169,1 million from 40,4 million kg of tobacco exported mainly to Indonesia and China since the beginning of 2018. Tobacco has been exported to 47 countries so far. China accounted for over 7,8 million kg valued at $51,1 million while Indonesia bought 5,8 million kg valued at $26,1 million,” reads part of the TIMB’s latest weekly bulletin.

With an estimated 350 million smokers, China has been spending over $200 million yearly on Zimbabwean tobacco, regarded among the best in the world.

Belgium has this year bought 4,2million kg valued at $12,8 million at an average price of $3,01 per kg.

South Africa has so far bought 5,4 million kg worth $15,3 million (average price of $2,81/kg), followed by Russia , which has spent $6,9 million on two million kgs, while Sudan stands at 1,4 million worth $6,2 million.

Other buyers are from Bulgaria, Vietnam, Hong Kong, France, Netherlands, Germany, Nigeria, Taiwan, Spain and Tanzania.

However, the tobacco export proceeds are $78 million behind last year’s exports for the same period.

During the same period last year tobacco exports generated $248 million from a total of 53,3 million kg.

Tobacco is presently being exported to these countries at an average price of $4,19/kg compared to $4,60 (during) the same period last year.

Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s biggest foreign currency earners followed by gold.

Last year tobacco exports topped $900 million, which was a marginal decrease from the $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.

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