Zimbabwe: Prices up as Auctions Open

    Photo: Taco Tuinstra

    Tobacco prices in Zimbabwe fetched $4.35 per kg at the start of the new marketing season today, up from $4.20 last year, reports Reuters.

    “It looks like we are going to have a good crop,” said Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) Chairman Patrick Devenish, who credited favorable rainfalls.

    The TIMB expects the country to produce 230 million kg of tobacco this year, 8.5 percent more than in 2022.

    Tobacco land use grew to 117,000 hectares this year from 110,000 hectares in 2022, according to the TIMB. The industry also saw an increase in the number of tobacco farmers to 148,527 this year from 123,000 in 2022.

    The tobacco industry contributes nearly $1 billion to export earnings every year, Zimbabwean Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said on March 8. Government statistics showed it accounted for more than 12 percent of exports in January.

    Zimbabwe is currently implementing a “Tobacco Value Chain Transformation Plan,” which seeks to extract more profit from the sector by processing raw leaf into higher-value products.

    “We seek to localize the financing of tobacco. We wish to transform the tobacco sector so we don’t export value,” Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka said on March 8.

    “This industry is on the cusp of growth.”