Tobacco farmers in Zimbabwe have earned US $8.9m in the first three days of the 2021 tobacco marketing season after selling 3.7m kg of the crop at the auction and contract floors. This represents an increase of over 1 000 percent from the US$ 783,465 earned by farmers during the same period last year after the sale of 374,338kg.
The 2021 tobacco marketing season opened last Wednesday while contract floors opened the following day. Most of the crop so far has been sold through the contract floors. The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has revealed that 3,3 million kg of tobacco valued at US$7,9 million has been sold at the contract floors in the first two days, while farmers sold 489 153kg worth US$1,052,245 at the auction floors in three days.
The highest price at the auction floors is US$4.99 while contractors have offered a highest price of US$$6.30 per kg. So far, 45,651 bales have been sold at the contract floors compared to 6,145 bales at the auction floors.
According to FAO, until recently, Zimbabwe had experienced steady economic growth. In 1996-1998, average annual exports of tobacco were 127 000 tonnes, of which Virginia accounted for more than 95 percent. Total exports of tobacco increased by 40 percent between 1981-1983 and 1996-1998. The average export revenue during the same period was US$7 875 million, and tobacco has been the largest single export crop in recent decades.
Although the share of tobacco in total agricultural exports has declined from its peak of 78 percent in 1992, it still accounted for more than 55 percent of total agricultural exports during 1996-1998. Among other export crops, cotton and maize experienced significant growth in export revenue. Export earnings from cotton increased nearly 22-fold between 1981-1983 and 1996-1998, while maize increased by nearly 16 times during the same period, and sugar also saw its share in revenue increase sharply.