BELGIUM has become the largest tobacco export market for Zimbabwean tobacco overtaking South Africa, statistics from the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) show. TARISAI MANDIZHA BUSINESS REPORTER
According to TIMB statistics, 18,4 million kg of the golden leaf had been exported to Belgium raking in $92,5 million as at September 5.
The tobacco was sold at an average price of $5,03 per kg. China was the second largest importer after 10,6 million kg were sold at a value of $77,8 million.
During the same period last year, South Africa bought 13,2 million kg of tobacco valued at $42,7 million. China imported 12,3 million kg worth $102 million.
Figures provided by TIMB show that the country has so far earned $318,5 million from 64,8 million kg of tobacco exports.
During the same period last year 68,5 million kg was exported raking in $330,6 million. The highest price per kg of $8,72 was offered by Malaysia.
Last year, Japan offered the highest price of $10,03 per kg.
TIMB said seasonal contract sales had increased to 165,4 million kg as compared to the same period last year when contractors purchased nearly 113 million kg.
Seasonal purchases have therefore marginally risen to 216,1 million kg compared to almost 166,0 million kg purchased in 2013 during a similar period.
According to TIMB, about 69 022 growers have registered for the 2015 season as compared to about 63 668 who had registered by the same period last year. Tobacco is one of the country’s major agricultural exports, accounting for 10,7% of gross domestic product.