Tobacco export earnings in Zimbabwe have increased to over $1 billion as of Nov. 10, and dryland farmers have continued to plant, according to The Herald.
According to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) weekly report data from Nov. 10, there was a 41 percent increase in the value of exported tobacco from $753.14 million from January to Nov. 10, 2022, to $1.06 billion in the same period of 2023.
This year, there was a 28 percent increase in volume terms from 157.95 million kg to 202.68 million kg. The average price increased 10 percent to $5.25 per kilogram.
The Far East market accounts for 64 percent of earnings, followed by the European Union at 14 percent and Africa at 12 percent. The Far East market had the highest average price at $7.19, followed by the EU at $4.37 and Africa at $3.43.
According to the TIMB report, there was a 3 percent decrease in total area under tobacco to 27,615 hectares this year.
Due to the El Nino weather forecast, there has been a 10 percent increase in irrigated area to 17,395 hectares. The area planted under dry land tobacco decreased 20 percent to 10,220 hectares.
The 2023/2024 season shows a 25 percent decrease in growers registered to 107,415. Of the registered growers, 92 percent are contracted.
“We hope mother nature will hear us this coming two weeks because we might lose some of the planted tobacco if it does not rain,” said George Seremwe, chairman of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Growers Association.
“We encourage farmers to do their best to mitigate negative effects of El Nino, and those who have not yet started planting must continue attending to nurseries and prepare land,” said Victor Mariranyika, president of the Tobacco Farmers Union Trust.
Zimbabwe aims to increase the value of its tobacco business to $5 billion by 2025 as part of the government’s Tobacco Value Chain Transformation Plan.