Zimbabwe has so far earned over US$600 million from tobacco, with most farmers now concentrating on the 2020/21 season seedbeds ahead of transplanting in September.
The country has for far earned US$618 million from the golden leaf, with exports constituting US$269 million and sales to date amounting to US$359 million from 147.2 million kilogrammes of the crop that were delivered under both the contract and auction systems.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board latest statistics show that the country has exported 81.1 million kilogrammes of semi processed tobacco to different continents with the Far East being the major buyer.
The Far East has imported 219.7 million kg of tobacco from Zimbabwe worth US$139 million, while African countries are the second major market having imported 14.3 million kg worth US$35.5 million.
The European Union imported 14 million kg worth US$42 million, Middle East 12.8 million kg valued at US$21 million.
Europe has imported 8.4 million kg from Zimbabwe worth US$ 24.8 million, while the Americas bought 1.9 million kg worth US$5.4 million.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union president, Mr Abdul Nyathi, said farmers were also concentrating on their seedbeds ahead of transplanting dates.
“Farmers have started planting their seedbeds for the irrigated crop,” he said. “The only challenge at the moment is water for irrigation. Dam levels have gone down while some boreholes have dried due to the drought.
“Some farmers are having difficulties irrigating their crop. Costs have also increased as the power charges have increased.”
Mr Nyathi said some farmers had been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic as they were failing to get all the labour they required.
“Farmers end up having different shifts and in the end it takes longer to complete tasks and it becomes expensive,” he said.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Shadreck Makombe said most farmers had sold their tobacco, except some who had delayed selling due to the fluctuating rates.
“Most tobacco growers are clearing their sheds as they sell their crop,” he said. “Plans for the next season are already underway and planting of seedbeds is in progress ahead of transplanting of the irrigated seeds on September 1.”