Harare. — At least 221,8 million kg of tobacco worth $647 million have been sold at contract and auction floors since the start of the selling season in March this year, statistics released by the industry regulator show. Statistics that the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board released on day 70 of sales show that the volume of tobacco sold so far is a 32 percent increase from 167,7 million kg worth $492,3 million traded during the comparable period last year.
Of the total volume of tobacco sold so far this year, at least 189,2 million kg went through the contract system while the remainder went under the hammer.
In the last season, farmers earned over $600 million from over 190 million kg of the golden leaf produced.
This year tobacco was grown under two extremes of weather characterised by delayed rains in the first half of the season and excessive precipitation in the second half.
Previously a preserve for commercial farmers, tobacco is fast becoming an attractive source of livelihood for many Zimbabwean small scale and communal farmers.
At least 146 000 farmers have registered to sell tobacco this year, with the bulk of the number being communal farmers. — New Ziana.