Tobacco exports down 16%

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MUNASHE MATAMBO

Zimbabwe’s tobacco exports were down 16% at $341,7 million after 37 weeks as of Monday from the $405,2 million realised last year, latest statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) have shown.

During the period under review, Zimbabwe exported 81,3 million kg of the golden leaf to 60 countries. During the same period last year, Zimbabwe exported 93,3 million kg, earning $405,2 million.

According to the TIMB report, China and South Africa are the country’s top export destinations.

“The country has earned $108,6 million and $40,5 million from China and South Africa respectively. Last year, during the same period, China and South Africa were the country’s top earners with $106,6 million and $36,0 million respectively,” reads part of the TIMB’s
latest weekly bulletin.

TIMB spokesperson Isheunesu Moyo told Business Times that despite the decrease in export earnings from last year, there is high anticipation that earnings would increase towards the end of year.

“The reason for the decrease during this period could be leaning towards demand. How the demand is at the particular time will determine export earnings. You will find that towards November and December there might be a high increase due to greater demand during
that time,” he said.

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

Other buyers are from Belgium, Vietnam, Russia, Hong Kong, Germany Sudan, Taiwan, Spain and Tanzania.

Tobacco is one of the largest foreign currency earners and last year generated $930 million. Total output has surpassed an 18-year record after 242 million kg went under the hammer. In 2000, tobacco output was 236 million kg.