Tobacco sales in Zimbabwe, Africa’s largest tobacco producer, have already raked in more than 169 million U.S. dollars a month after the tobacco marketing season commenced.
This is compared to 91 million dollars realized last year during the same period.
More than 64 million kg of the golden leaf has so far been sold, representing an increase of 58 percent from last year’s 40 million kg for the period under review, according to state-run broadcaster ZBC News on Monday.
Contract tobacco dominates sales, raking in 158 million dollars in 30 days, while auction sales have so far realized 12 million dollars.
Most tobacco farmers engage in contract farming, which involves buyers providing the farmers with the inputs for tobacco farming, thereby reducing the capital required to run a tobacco farming business.
Zimbabwe’s 2021 tobacco marketing season opened with hopes the country will surpass last year’s figures. According to estimates, about 200 million kg of tobacco will be sold this season, as compared to 180 million kg that was sold last year.
This season tobacco crop hectarage went up by 6.84 percent from 117,000 hectares in 2019/2020 season to 125,000 hectares this year.
Last year, Zimbabwe earned around 460 million dollars from 183 million kg of tobacco sold.
Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s second foreign currency earner after gold, with China and South Africa being the major buyers of the golden leaf.
Over the years, tobacco production in Zimbabwe has steadily gone up driven by increased support mainly from the private sector and China, who have contracted tobacco farmers to produce the crop.