ZIMBABWE - Zimbabwe tobacco exports surged by 49 percent to $347 million this week from the sale of 65 million kilogrammes (kgs) up from $231 million recorded in the prior period, official statistics show.
Figures released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (Timb) on Friday revealed that China continues to dominate as Zimbabwe flue-cured tobacco’s largest export market with the Asian giant having purchased 21,8 million kilogrammes of tobacco worth $184 million.
Tobacco sold to China was sold at an average price of $8,41 per kg.
Last year, in the prior comparable period, China imported 5,6 million kgs of tobacco worth $35 million at an average price of $6,14.
The TIMB figures show that South Africa is currently the second largest export destination for local tobacco as it has taken up 8,3 million kgs worth $24,5 million bought at an average price of $2,93.
This is an improvement in volumes terms from the 5,6 million kgs worth $25 million exported to our southern neighbours this time last year.
Indonesia occupies third position after having imported a total of 5,1 million kgs of Zimbabwean tobacco worth $21 million at an average price cost of $4,21 per kg.
Belgium is fourth having imported 4,8 million kgs of tobacco worth $23 million sold at an average $4,79 per kg.
Zimbabwe earned $584 million for 198 million kgs of tobacco this season, a 14 percent decrease from last year’s $682 million.
Overall output missed the 220 million kgs production target for the just ended season but tobacco farming continues to rebound after years of decline.
Meanwhile, Timb said to date about 75 392 growers have sold for 2015 season as compared to about 86 975 who sold by the same period last year.
Over the past few years, Zimbabwean farmers have been abandoning growing maize due to viability concerns.
Industry experts say most local farmers are now seized with growing tobacco and not the staple crop or other food crops, thereby pushing the country into serious food insecurity.
According to Word Food Programme more than 1,5 million Zimbabweans are facing starvation in the country
September 4, 2015; http://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2015/08/31/tobacco-exports-up-49pc