ZIMBABWE’S tobacco earnings for the 76 days of the selling season increased by 24% to $527 million compared to the same period last year driven by increased deliveries, official figures have shown.
Statistics availed by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board show that during the period under review, a total of 142,5 million kilogrammes (kg) of tobacco were sold indicating a 25,44% increase from 113,6 million kg in 2012.
The golden leaf was being sold at an average of $3,70 per kg from the three tobacco auction floors in the country that includes Tobacco Sales Floor, Boka Auction Floors and Premier Auction Floors.
The country is expected to raise $700million through the sale of tobacco and a total output of 170 million kg is projected.
TIMB said in the period under review a total of 1 850 029 bales were sold while
1 950 217 bales were laid.
TIMB figures also showed that 143 450kg of burley tobacco has been sold earning the country $214 054. The crop was being sold at an average price of $1,50 per kg.
A total of 28,4 million kg of flue-cured tobacco was exported in May earning the country a total of $104,8 million.
The major destinations of the crop were South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Belgium and China at an average price $3,69 per kg.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is hosting the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) Africa Regional meeting this week in Harare that will discuss issues on developing contact between tobacco growers around the world and sharing of non-competitive information about the crop with its members.
The meeting will also elaborate on strategies to stabilise supply and prices.
The meeting was held in Lusaka last year and regional country members include Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In his 2013 budget presentation Fiinance Minister Tendai Biti said agriculture was projected to grow by 6,4% and this will be supported by credit facilities to farmers and continued contract farming arrangements for major crops.