Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’s tobacco export earnings have so far reached $827.4 million rising by seven percent from $771.8 million during the corresponding period last year.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) indicated this in its weekly bulletin released on Tuesday.
As at November 22, 2017, the country exported 166.6 million kilogrammes of flue-cured tobacco at an average price of $4.96 a kg.
During the same period in 2016, Zimbabwe exported 138.6 million kg at an average price of $5.57 a kg. At present, the top five consumers of flue-cured tobacco from Zimbabwe are China, South Africa, Belgium, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates.
China remains the top destination of Zimbabwe’s flue-cured tobacco importing 56.4 million kg at $440.9 million at an average price of $7.82 a kg.
On second spot is South Africa having so far imported 21 million kg valued $64.2 million at an average price of $3.06 a kg. Belgium was on third spot importing 20 million kg valued at $60 million averaging $3.02 a kg while Indonesia was on fourth position spending $37.8 million on 9 million kg with an average price of $4.18 a kg.
The United Arab Emirates was on fifth position spending $15 million on 7.7 million kg averaging $1.94 a kg.
Meanwhile, the number of registered tobacco growers has so far improved by 36 percent to 99 448 from 73 340 during the proportionate period last year.
So far, registered communal tobacco farmers are 49 398 while A1 were 37 868.
A total of 6 408 A2 farmers have so far registered with TIMB to grow tobacco while small-scale commercial farmers were 5 774.
The golden leaf, which is Zimbabwe’s third major foreign currency earner after gold and platinum in 2016 generated $933.3 million in foreign currency.
Recently, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced that it had increased tobacco export incentives to 12.5 percent from five percent with a view to boost production in the sector.
The monetary authority has pointed out that the export incentive shall be paid straight into the corresponding tobacco growers’ bank accounts on a monthly basis upon submission of sales information to the Reserve Bank by TIMB.