HARARE – Zimbabwe has so far earned US$428.75 million from 172.33 million kilograms sold so far at auction and contract floors in the country since the selling season opened, statistics from the industry regulator show.

Tobacco is the country’s second largest foreign currency earner after gold. This year, tobacco was grown under difficult weather characterised by delayed rains and prolonged drought.

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said sales increased marginally from US$428.10 million earned from 220.03 million kgs of the golden leaf sold in the comparable period last year.

Average price at both auction and contract floors stood at 2.49 USD per kg, which is 27.87% higher than in the 2019 marketing season. So far the golden leaf has fetched the highest price of 6.60 USD per kg, while the lowest has been 0.10 US cents per kg.

Rejected bales declined to 77 261 from 180 009 recorded in the same period last year.

Tobacco production has been on the increase in the past few years, with farmers selling a record 259 million kg last year, up from 253 million kg in 2018. In 2019, it generated US$747 million in exports mainly to China and Europe, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe data.

Traditionally, the opening of tobacco auction floors leads to improved foreign exchange inflows in the country, with buyers scrambling to purchase the crop.

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