HARARE, Tobacco farmers in Zimbabwe have so far sold 232.6 million kilogrammes of the crop worth about 680 million US dollars, about four million kg shy of the peak total of 236 million kilogrammes recorded in the year 2000, according to the latest statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board.
The sales figures released by the board on Day 78 of the current sales season show that at the comparable day last year, about 174 million kg of the crop worth 513.8 million USD had been sold at an average price of 2.95 USD per kg. This year, tobacco is being sold at an average price of 2.92 USD per kg.
Of the total volume of tobacco sold so far this year, at least 198.4 million kg went through the contract system while the remainder were sold at auction. In the last season, farmers earned more than 600 million USD from the more than 190 million kg of the golden leaf produced.
This year, tobacco was grown under two extremes of weather characterised by delayed rains in the first half of the season and excessive precipitation in the second half. Previously a preserve for commercial farmers, tobacco is fast becoming an attractive source of livelihood for many Zimbabwean small scale and communal farmers.
At least 146,000 farmers registered to sell tobacco this year, with the bulk of the number being communal farmers.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK