Zimbabwe has so far earned US$117 million from 51.66 million kilogrammes sold so far since the selling season opened on April 29 this year, 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 twofold from US$46.83 million earned from 26.70 million kgs of the golden leaf sold in the comparable period last year.
Average price at both auction and contract floors stood at 2.26 USD per kg, which is 29.10 percent 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 23,801 from 24,407 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.
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 in the country, with buyers scrambling to purchase the crop.
This year the tobacco selling season is being conducted with minimised human traffic at auction floors to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus which is ravaging the world. – New Ziana