So far this year, Zimbabwe has earned more than US$270 million from the export of 49.4 million kg of leaf tobacco, according to a story by Oliver Kazunga for the Chronicle, citing figures from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board up to June 26.
During the equivalent period of last year, Zimbabwe was said to have earned US$141.2 million from the export of 38.8 million kg of tobacco.
China has been Zimbabwe’s main customer this year, buying 20 million kg of tobacco for US$170.8 – for an average price of US$8.54 per kg.
South Africa was the second biggest customer buying 6.7 million kg of tobacco for US$19.9 million, an average price of US$2.97 per kg; and Indonesia was in third place buying 3.2 million kg for US$13.4 million, an average price of US$4.19 per kg.
But while the overall average export price for Zimbabwe’s tobacco has gone up, year on year, from US$3.64 per kg to US$5.46 per kg, grower prices have gone in the opposite direction.
The Chronicle story said that contract grower sales had been depressed in respect of both volume (down by 14.3 percent) and average price (down by 6.3 percent).
Auction volume sales were said to be down by 8.1 percent but the average auction price was not mentioned.
However, according to a story in The Herald earlier this month, prices have remained below those of last season.
The Herald story said that growers had so far this season sold 160 million kg of flue-cured for US$473.983 million – for an average price of US$2.96 per kg.
At the same point of last season, 177 million kg of flue-cured had been sold for $564 million – for an average price of $3.18 per kg. That represents a reduction in grower prices of 6.9 percent year on year.
Meanwhile, according to the Chronicle story, 97,452 growers have registered to produce tobacco next season, down nine percent on the 106326 growers who had registered during the same period of 2014.