Harare - Zimbabwe’s tobacco selling season opened on Wednesday with the highest quality leaves on auction fetching $4.70 per kilogram against $4.45/kg last year.
Zimbabwe is expecting total tobacco deliveries to reach 170 million kilograms this year, up from 144 million kilograms last year.
In 2012 the country earned a record $517m from tobacco sales, according to the finance ministry.
The tobacco crop accounted for 10.7% of the country’s GDP in 2012 and constituted 21.8% of total exports, compared to 9.2% for other agriculture commodities.
Guest speaker at the opening of the auction floors, Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere called on banks to do more to support agriculture.
Kasukuwere said the attitude by banks of not supporting agriculture must be stopped. “This kind of attitude must go and we must support our farmers,” he said.
He said if financial sectors were to assist farmers the country would witness an increase in tobacco volumes which are grown every year.
The Tobacco Industry Marketing Board says the number of growers has increased from about 35 000 last year to 66 100, most of them small-scale black farmers.
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