HARARE, July 4 (Bernama) -- Zimbabwe has earned US$577.3 million from the sale of 156.2 million kgs sold at an average price of US$3.70 per kg since the marketing season opened on Feb 13.
The volume of tobacco sold to date is a 20.4 percent improvement from the 130 million kgs worth US$480 million sold during the comparable period last year, Zimbabwe's news agency, New Ziana, reported.
Statistics released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board show that of the total tobacco sold 103 million kgs were through contract sales while the remainder went under the hammer.
The 2013 flue-cured tobacco selling season will close on Friday, July 5 after 99 selling days while the 2012 selling season lasted 145 days.
Last year, Zimbabwe produced about 144.5 million kg of tobacco against a projection of 130 million kg, with sales raking in US$527.6 million.
This season, 170 million kgs were targeted to go under the hammer.
Since the adoption of multiple foreign currencies the tobacco industry has become one of the fastest to recover from the economic meltdown of the past decade.
The sector has been on a rebound as over 70 0000 farmers registered to grow the crop this season.
Many farmers have been shifting from other crops such as cotton to tobacco due to the favourable prices.
Tobacco is one of Zimbabweâ€™s major agricultural exports, accounting for 10.7 percent of gross domestic product.
South Africa is the leading market for Zimbabweâ€™s tobacco this year with 10.1 million kgs worth about US$30 million having been exported so far.
Other major export destinations for Zimbabwean tobacco include China and Russia.