Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Zimbabwe has earned US$153 million from tobacco exports as the Far East continues to be the major destination of the golden leaf.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board’s latest statistics show that as of February 17, the country had exported 33 326 tonnes of tobacco to different market destinations.
So far 16 9765 tonnes of tobacco worth US$ 106 643 million have been exported to the Far East.
The Middle East bought 4 347 tonnes of tobacco worth US$9,3 million while 4 791 tonnes were exported to the European Union.
Zimbabwe is also exporting its tobacco to other African countries including South Africa, Botswana and Malawi.
So far African countries have bought 5 620 tonnes of tobacco worth US$ 16,8 million from Zimbabwe.
More than 1 450 tonnes of tobacco worth US$ 3,2 million was exported to Europe while the Americas bought 512 tonnes worth US$1, 5 million.
Zimbabwe used to be a net exporter of tobacco, but some companies have sprouted and are now processing cigarettes locally and exporting the finished product.
TIMB has always been emphasising the development of good brands for the market. Zimbabwe is producing cigar wrapper tobacco in Burma Valley and exporting it.
Tobacco production has been on the increase in Zimbabwe since the land reform programme. More than 140 000 farmers now engage in tobacco production, while close to one million people are directly dependent on the golden leaf.
The country imports other varieties of tobacco that are not produced locally for blending purposes. Processing firms import the tobacco varieties from Zambia, India, Malawi, Mozambique, Britain and Bangladesh.