Tobacco deliveries have surpassed 100 million kg since the start of this year’s auctioning season in February.
According to the latest Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board update deliveries have reached 103,4m kg generating $388,7m in the process.
In the same period last year, both contracted and independent growers of the crop had delivered 96,7m kg of the golden leaf valued at $258m.
The latest figures show that deliveries have soared 7% this year from last year while revenue has gone up 51% the same comparable period.
Contracted tobacco growers have delivered 60,9m kg of the crop worth $233,2m while independent farmers have accounted for 42,6 million kg with a value of $155,4m.
The Economic Planning and Investment Promotion ministry recently revised downwards expected tobacco deliveries from 150m kg to 133m kg citing escalating production costs, prolonged power outages, lack of support schemes and the shift in weather patterns.
The ministry in its First Quarter Economic Review said: “Tobacco output was initially projected at 150 000 tonnes at an average yield of 1,67 tonnes per hectare for the 2011-2012 season.
“However, this projection has been revised downwards to 133 000 tonnes with an average yield of 2,1 tonnes per hectare.
“When the rains finally came, they were in excessive amounts in some areas, which generally impacted on operations and also caused crop diseases.
“In addition, hailstorms received in the country between January and February also damaged the crop in some areas.”
The tobacco selling season now in Week 15 could run for an additional 22 weeks if this year’s season runs similar to last year’s, which stretched through to September.