THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) recorded a marginal increase in tobacco output in the first 12 trading days of the season, latest figures have shown.
Figures provided by TIMB show that a total of $31 million has been generated from the sale of 8,9 million kilogrammes during the period under review.
The value is, however, 5% below last year’s figure.
The crop was being sold at the three participating auction floors — Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF), Boka Tobacco Auction Floors and Premier Tobacco Floors.
TSF led with close to 1,2 million kg having been sold on day 12 (last Thursday) while Boka Tobacco Floors and Premier Tobacco Floors both handled 1,9 million kg of the golden leaf.
The average price of $3,42 per kg is slightly lower than of the last season’s of $3,60.
At least 119 745 bales had been accepted, while 8 758 bales had been rejected for various reasons.
The surge in tobacco output is attributed to surge in the number of growers which almost doubled to 66 000 compared to 34 673 last season.
TIMB projects 170 million kg of the golden leaf to be brought to the auction floors this season.
The tobacco industry has been on a recovery path since 2009 when the country adopted the multi-currency system.
In the 2012/2013 marketing season, 144 million kg of tobacco was sold, earning the country $525 million.
Tobacco is one of the country’s major agricultural exports, accounting for 10,7% of gross domestic product.
The major export destinations for the country’s tobacco include China, UK, South Africa, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius and Russia.