Tobacco exports decline in first quarter

Tobacco exports decline in first quarter
Published: 04 April 2018
ZIMBABWE'S tobacco exports have declined by 35.4 percent to 25.3 million kilogrammes in the first quarter of 2017 against 39.2 million kg exported in the comparable period last year.

According to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) report for the week ended March 28, 2018, the value of flue-cured tobacco exported in the first quarter was $113.2 million compared to $193 million realised in the same period last year.

TIMB also indicated that the golden leaf was exported at an average price of $4.48 a kg compared to $4.93 a kg during the first quarter in 2017.

Tobacco expert Mr Thomas Nherera attributed the decline in tobacco exports in the first quarter of the year to a number of factors.

"A number of factors could be on play. The first one being that the people who are importing tobacco will have a certain demand that they are looking at, so it may be that their countries might have stocks, which are higher than their normal carrying at this time, therefore they would have a reduced requirement for their own use," he said.

"The traditional importers may also not have imported that much but the total sales are still higher."

This year's tobacco selling season opened on March 21 with all the three auction floors that operated last year — Boka Tobacco Auction Floors, Tobacco Sales Floor and Premier, having been licensed. In the latest report, TIMB indicated that 4.5 million kg under the auction arrangement have so far been sold, generating $12 million while 5.6 million kg were also sold through a contract arrangement generating $15.3 million.

The crop's marketing season opened starting with the crop delivered under the auction system while sales under contract arrangement were opened the following day.

The golden leaf is one of the country's major foreign currency earners and has been pivotal in improving liquidity in the economy.

In the past five years, tobacco has been the country's major foreign currency earner. In 2017, the country earned $904 million from exporting the golden leaf to different parts of the world.

Tobacco export receipts are this year projected to reach $1.2 billion and according to a recent crop assessment survey conducted by TIMB and the Agricultural Technical and Extension Services. Zimbabwe projects an average yield of two tonnes per hectare. In the 2017/18 cropping season, the total hectarage planted under tobacco stands at 104 397 ha.
- zimpapers
Tags: Tobacco,


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