Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zim tobacco exports rake in US$390m

Zim tobacco exports rake in US$390m

Thursday, 12 January 2012 15:53

Paul Nyakazeya

ZIMBABWE exported 144 million kgs of flue cured tobacco valued at US$393,1 
million last year, from 86 815 tonnes valued at US$250 million in the prior 
year, owing to improved stock and increased capacity utilisation by tobacco 
processors, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said.
TIMB said Zimbabwe the Far East now accounted for 45% of the country’s 
exports, up from 26% previously.

“The major player is China, which has recorded an annual intake of almost 58 
million kg, up from 18 million kg consumed in 2010,” said TIMB.

The European Union, which increased its annual tobacco intake from Zimbabwe 
by 5% last year, lost 14% of its Zimbabwe tobacco to China.

“This is attributed to anti-tobacco campaigns affecting the regional bloc 
and sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe,” TIMB said.

The Middle East and Africa lost their share of Zimbabwe’s output by 3% and 
1% respectively between 2010 and 2011.

TIMB said permits to import almost 20 million kg of foreign tobacco were 
issued as at December 31 last year.

“The actual tobacco received will be ascertained after the annual stock 
reconciliation exercise at the end of January 2012. However, current records 
indicate more than 6 million kg has since been re-exported to various 
destinations,” said TIMB.

Of the 2011 tobacco import permits, 57% were for product from Zambia, Malawi 
29%, India 6%, South Africa 3%, Tanzania 2%, China, Uganda and Zimbabwe 1%.

TIMB said the industry failed to meet last year’s projected target output of 
177 million kgs of tobacco, owing to crop losses of up to 31% at the farms 
and 21% during the re-handling process.

The tobacco selling season officially closed in August, with mop-up sales 
stretching until the end of September.

TIMB said drought and re-grading of tobacco impacted negatively on the 
projected target as 132 million kgs of tobacco were auctioned, raking in 
US$360,3 million. The balance of output was from contract farming.

“During the current marketing season, tobacco farmers’ crop was affected by 
intermittent rains, forcing them to embark on the re-handling exercise 
which, however, accounts for 21% in losses,” TIMB said.

“Other weather-related conditions on  farms affected the golden leaf, 
accounting for 31% of losses. It is against this background that 
agricultural experts are calling for extensive educational campaigns on 
tobacco growing and handling to ensure that the forthcoming season will not 
record high tobacco losses,” TIMB said.

Tobacco is one of the country’s top foreign currency earners, accounting for 
26% of the country’s gross exports last year.

Tobacco farmers last year got cash payment for almost all their deliveries 
after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe increased the cash payment threshold from 
US$2 000 to US$10 000 per sale.

Farmers who delivered  less than 4 000kg of the golden leaf in one go 
received their payment in cash.

The US$10 000 threshold applied for every single sale made.

Farmers with more than 4 000kg could split their sale into two within the 
same day and still get US$10 000 per sale.


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