Zimbabwe Tobacco Farmers Lift Sales to Highest Since 2001

Tobacco farmers in Zimbabwe sold about 205.5 million kilograms (453 million pounds) of the crop in the marketing season that ended June 27, breaching the 200 million-kilogram mark for the first time since 2001.

Farmers earned more than $651.9 million from sales of mainly flue-cured or Virginia tobacco, compared with more than $569.5 million a year earlier, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, the state regulator, said today in an e-mail from the capital, Harare. Tobacco is traditionally sold in Zimbabwe from late February through June. Mop-up sales, to purchase any tobacco remaining on farms, will be held July 15.

Deliveries of the leaf grew 33 percent on the previous season, while the average price declined to $3.17 a kilogram from $3.70 last year, according to the TIMB. The regulator had earlier predicted a crop of about 185 million kilograms.

Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s biggest agricultural export and second-biggest earner after minerals. About 106,000 mainly small-scale growers farm the crop on Zimbabwe’s sandy northern and eastern soils.

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