Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) Tuesday said small-scale tobacco farmers have contributed 42% to total output of the golden leaf that has gone under the hammer since February, an increase of 100% from last year.
By Tuesday, 113 million kilogrammes had been sold, raising $331 million for the industry. For the rest of the year, Zimbabwe expects to auction 114 million kilogrammes of tobacco.
More than 40 000 tobacco farmers delivered tobacco to local auction floors this year, a majority of whom were smallholder farmers.
The middle-level producers penetrated the sector traditionally dominated by large commercial farmers during the fast-track land reform programme.
The agriculture industry is beginning to recover after a cumulative decline since 2000, driven by smallholder farmers, who now dominate the tobacco, cotton, sugar cane and maize sectors.
At least 41 million kilogrammes of flue-cured tobacco has been sold at an average price of $2,67, while 72 million kilogrammes of contract tobacco has been sold at an average price of $3,08.
Andrew Matibiri, TIMB CEO, said daily sales currently averaged 800 000 kilogrammes and more deliveries are expected.
“We cannot talk about closing yet because the deliveries are still coming. The deliveries are twice the figure that we sold last year and the tobacco is of good quality,” said Matibiri.
Matibiri expects sales to increase next year, as production for this season increases.