Zimbabwe’s 2015/16 output of the golden leaf, at 200 million kilogrammes, surpassed the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board’s revised production target of 190 million kg. The remarkable growth in deliveries, beating last marketing season’s 198 million kg realised, is despite an El Nino-induced drought. Earnings have also naturally risen, with farmers – who have dropped in number from 97 616 to 81 794 in the past year – pocketing more than US$586 million from US$566 million in 2014/15.
Total revenues improved by US$28 million to US$840 million from US$812 million last year. The average price was unchanged at US$2,94.
TIMB public relations manager Mr Isheunesu Moyo said, “We are surprised with the statistics given the climatic conditions that we have experienced this season. We didn’t expect to surpass 160 million kilogrammes at the start of the selling season.
“However, seeing the rate at which farmers were delivering their crop we revised the final output to 175 million kilogrammes but here we are: we have now reached 200 million kilogrammes.
“Given the number of farmers who committed themselves to the crop and the area that was planted this year, we did a splendid job as no one, including us, expected the output to reach such astonishing figures,” he said.
Contract farming accounts for more than 75 percent of deliveries, which puts pressure on the tobacco auction system. Of the 200 million kg delivered to auction floors, over 163 million kg were under contract farming.
While TSF handled 59,4 million kg, Boka received 19,1 million kgs.
Exports rose to US$254 million from US$246 million over the same period in 2015 and 45,1 million kg of tobacco were exported to 40 countries.
Statistics from TIMB’s latest bulletin show that China accounted for over 20,2 million kg (US$164 million), while South Africa bought 9,03 million kg (US$26,2 million). China usually spends over US$200 million per annum on Zimbabwe’s tobacco.
This season, export tobacco sold for an average of US$5,62/kg compared to US$5,82/kg compared to last year. Indonesia has spent US$11,7 million on 2,2 million kg and Belgium has bought 2,25 million kg valued at US$11,1 million. Russia has purchased 2,1 million kg worth US$7 million.
Other buyers include the United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Hong Kong, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Sudan and Tanzania. Already 53 666 tobacco farmers have so far registered for the 2016/2017 summer cropping season.