Zimbabwe has earned US$117 million from leaf sales since the tobacco season opened on April 29, according to the Tobacco Marketing and Industry Board (TIMB). Farmers have sold 51.66 million kg to date.
This year’s season was characterized by delayed rains and prolonged drought.
The TIMB said sales increased twofold from $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 per kg, nearly 30 percent higher than during the comparable period of the 2019 marketing season.
Despite the comparatively good prices, farmers are concerned about their income.
Half of their crop is paid at a fixed exchange rate of US$1:$25. The other half is paid into local currency bank accounts at the pegged interbank rate and they feel the huge gap between the official and black market rates might affect their viability since many of their suppliers use the black market rate when calculating prices.
Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s second largest foreign currency earner after gold.