Oliver Kazunga Senior Business Reporter
THE country has generated $122,6 million from 29.1 million kilogrammes of flue cured tobacco since the beginning of the year, statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show.
The golden leaf has been exported at an average price of $4,21a kg.
During the same period last year, TIMB indicated that tobacco earnings were at $134 million from the exportation of 35,1 million kg at an average price of $3,81 a kg.
Leading the pack of major tobacco importers of flue cured tobacco from Zimbabwe as of June 13 was Belgium which has so far consumed 7,3 million kg valued $30,3 million at an average price of $4,21 a kg.
In second spot was the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which has so far spent $12,6 million on 4,3 million kg with an average price of $2,93 a kg.
South Africa was trailing behind securing third place as 3,4 million kg have been imported by the neighbouring country valued at $15 million at an average price of $4,40 a kg. China and Russia were on fourth and fifth positions respectively consuming 3,2 million kg and 3 million kg of the golden leaf respectively.
China, which has for the past four years in a row been the major importer of Zimbabwe’s flue-cured tobacco, has so far spent $22,4 million while Russia has spent $6 million.
Meanwhile, about 106,326 growers have registered for the 2014 season compared to about 91,160 who had registered by the same period last year.
Of the 106,326 growers, communal area farmers constitute the largest number of the growers that have registered for the 2014 farming season with a total of 48,222 having so far registered followed by A1 farmers at 37,769, A2 farmers at 11,703 while 8,632 small-scale commercial farmers have so far registered.
Under the tobacco marketing Act, farmers are required to register to grow the crop.
Tobacco has become one of the lucrative crops in Zimbabwe with farmers in the country recently abandoning growing crops such as cotton and maize.