AT least 180.7 million kilograms of tobacco worth US$452.2 million have been sold so far at auction and contract floors in the country since the selling season opened on April 29 this year, statistics from the industry regulator show.
In an update on day 89 of sale, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing
Board said the volume of sales were 24.7 percent lower than 238 million kg of tobacco worth US$472.1 million sold in the same period last year.
The average price at auction and contract floors was US$2.50 per kg,
which is 26.13 percent higher than the US$1.98 of the 2019 marketing
season. The highest price stood at US$6.60 per kg while the lowest was
Rejected bales declined to 80 595 from 195 812 recorded in the same period last year.
This year, the tobacco selling season was conducted with minimised human traffic at auction floors to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus which is ravaging the world.
Tobacco farming is arguably one of the success stories of agriculture
in the post-land reform era as more blacks are growing the crop than
previously when it was a preserve of white people.
Production of the crop 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.
Last year, 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 into the country, as buyers scramble to
purchase the crop.