Zimbabwe’s tobacco output for the 2014 season on Monday reached 185 million kilogrammes, surpassing the season target by 5 million kg, latest figures show.
The sector continues to recover as resettled small-scale farmers find their feet, but output is still shy of the all-time high of 236 million kg achieved in 2000 before the onset of land reforms. Output plunged to a record low of 48 million in 2008.
Tobacco is a major foreign currency earner for Zimbabwe.
Last year, the country sold 167 million kg of tobacco.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) statistics show that by Monday, day 74 of auctions, 185 million kg had gone under the hammer, up from 140 million kg sold during the same period last year. The selling season normally spans 90 days.
Revenues amounting to $587 million have been generated compared to $520 million in 2013. Total sales amounted to $577 million last year.
The price, at which the leaf has been sold since opening of floors in February, has declined 14 percent to average $3.17 per kg from last year’s $3.70.
The government has said a jump in production was anticipated following a 29 percent increase to 91,278 in the number of farmers involved in the production of the crop this season, with 90,000 hectares put under the crop.
Zimbabwe has three tobacco auction floors while six contractors have also been licensed to buy the crop this season.
Major exports markets for Zimbabwean tobacco include China, Belgium, Philippines, United Kingdom and Spain