Zimbabwe’s tobacco sales reach 200 million kilogrammes, generating $697 million


HARARE – Zimbabwe's tobacco auctions have generated $697 million this season with the sale of over 200 million kilograms of the golden leaf, according to the latest statistics.

Image: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Associated Press. 

Data from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) revealed that by day 68 of the marketing season, 201.4 million kilograms of tobacco had been sold for $697.6 million. 

This represents a 25.1 percent decline from the 269 million kilograms valued at $813 million recorded during the same period last year.

The majority of the tobacco, 190 million kilograms, was sold through the contract system, while only 11.3 million kilograms were sold by individual farmers via auction. 

Contract farming, which accounts for more than 75 percent of deliveries, continues to exert pressure on the auction system.

The average price per kilogram this season stood at $3.46, marking a 14.5 percent increase from the $3.02 per kilogram recorded during the same period last year. 

A total of 2,673,473 bales were accepted, while 78,458 bales were rejected for various reasons.

In 2023, Zimbabwean tobacco farmers produced a record 296 million kilograms. However, output is expected to decrease to around 235 million kilograms this year due to an El Nino-induced drought.

Tobacco remains Zimbabwe's second-largest foreign currency earner after gold, and its farming is one of the notable success stories of agriculture in the post-land reform era. 

Despite this, at least 98 percent of the locally produced tobacco is exported in semi-processed form, prompting growing calls for value addition to the crop.

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