HARARE, April 23– Belgium is the biggest buyer of Zimbabwean tobacco so far this year with 3.4 million kilograms worth $9.1 million having been exported to that country to date, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board says.

In its recent update, the TIMB said the United Arab Emirates was the second biggest buyer of the golden leaf with 2.2 million kgs having been exported to that country since the start of the tobacco selling season on Feb 19 this year.

On third position is China which has bought 1.8 million kilograms worth $13.8 million at an average price of $7.45 per kg.

During the same period last year, South Africa was on top having bought 8 million kgs worth over $24 million.

The highest export price has been US$7.45 per kg that China offered when it bought 1.8 million kgs.

France offered the lowest price after buying 148,640kg for US$0.26 per kg.

TIMB is on record saying the disparity in prices was a result of the tobacco grade.

As of last week, at least 17.26 million kgs of tobacco had been exported, raking in US$ 63.5 million.

A total of 71.5 million kgs of tobacco worth $227.9 million have so far been sold through the contract and auction sales.

Tobacco is one of the largest foreign currency earners in the economy.

Other export destinations for Zimbabwean tobacco include Spain, New Zealand, Singapore, Egypt, Montenegro and Russia.

SOURCE: New Ziana