Tobacco revenue grosses $617 million; exports marginally lower

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Livingstone Marufu

HARARE – Tobacco farmers have grossed $617, 8 million from 212 million kilogrammes that have been delivered 65 days into the 2018 marketing season. This is a gain of more than $141 million on revenues realised during the same period, a year ago.

During the same period in 2017, farmers earned $476 mln after delivering 163 million kgs.

According to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) daily tobacco trade updates of the $617,8 mln earned so far, contracted farmers have earned $530,7 mln after a delivery of 180,7 million kgs, with auction floors only catering for $87 mln after delivering 31,2 million kgs.

The average price on the auction floor is $2.78 per kg against $2.94 on contract farming.

Meanwhile, the overall average price has decreased by 0.3 percent to $2.91/kg from last year’s $2.92/kg.

“Zimbabwe has so far exported 40,4 million kgs of tobacco to 47 countries earning $169,1mln in the process. China accounted for over 7,8 million kgs valued at $51,1mln while Indonesia bought 5,8 million kgs valued at $26,1mln” reads part of the TIMB’s latest weekly bulletin.

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

Belgium has this year bought 4,2 million kgs valued at $12,8mln at an average price of $3.01 per kg.

South Africa has so far bought 5,4 million kgs worth $15,3mln (average price of $2.81/kg), followed by Russia, which has spent $6,9mln on 2 million kgs, while Sudan stands at 1,4 million kgs worth $6,2mln.

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

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

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

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 one of Zimbabwe’s biggest foreign currency earners followed by gold.

Last year tobacco exports topped $900 mln, which was a marginal decrease from 933 mln the previous season.