TOBACCO sales have raked in $600 million for this season after the sale of over 200 million kg of the golden leaf, latest statistics have shown.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
According to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), 201,5 million kg of tobacco at $592,5 million had been sold up from 195,6 million kg valued at $576,3 million recorded during the same period last year.
The average price was $2,94 per kg, down by a cent from $2,95 per kg recorded over the same period last year.
Contract farming accounts for more than 75% of deliveries, which puts pressure on the tobacco auction system.
Of the 200 million kg delivered to auction floors, over 163 million kg were under contract farming.
Independent tobacco growers delivered 35,9 million kg to the auction floors at a value of $91,2 million, while contract sales were 165,5 million kg valued at $501,3 million.
At least 2 658 435 bales were accepted, while 169 419 were rejected for various reasons.
The country was expected to record a 20% decline in tobacco output this year from 198 million kg produced in 2015.
However, the 2015/16 output of the golden leaf has surpassed the TIMB revised production target of 190 million kg.
Tobacco sales ended last month. This year’s sales started off on a low note after a new system, where farmers’ money was deposited into their bank accounts, faced challenges, as banks did not have adequate cash.
Tobacco is one of the top foreign export earners in the country.