Statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show that about 68 000 contracted growers have delivered their crop to the contractors with contract sales having raked in $301 million from 104 million kg.
Deliveries to the three auction floors show that 18 000 non-contracted growers have delivered 19,1 million kg valued at $54 million.
The auction system in Zimbabwe handles at least 16 to 20 percent of the crop while the rest of the crop is sold through the contract system.
From the TIMB statistics, at least 141 000 growers registered to grow tobacco this year from 97 000 who registered the previous year.
The seasonal average price for 2018 shows a two percent variance of $2,89 per kg from the $2,83 during the same period last year.
Contract sales have so far achieved the highest price of $6,25 per kg from the $6 per kg achieved last year while the auction price remains at the ceiling price of $4,99 per kg that has been prevailing since dollarisation.
The Zimbabwe National Flue Cured estimates that the tobacco marketing season will see the country earning $615 million from 205 million kg up from $559,4 million earned last year.
Zimbabwe is the largest producer of tobacco in Africa and the third biggest exporter of tobacco in the world.
Tobacco exports to the country’s major export destinations such as China, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Russia and Indonesia show that the country has so far earned $130 million from 30 million kg exported since the beginning of the year.
Last year the country earned $234 million dollars from the export of 50 million kg at an average price of $4,66 per kg.
Tobacco is among the top three foreign currency earners in the country.
Zimbabwean tobacco is regarded as having one of the best smoking and flavour qualities in the world and is well sought-after by major tobacco markets. —The Financial Gazette