Zimbabwe's Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board says it has sold 83 million kilograms of tobacco valued at US$231 million since the selling season began in February.
That represents a 27 percent gain in sales receipts over the 2010 period even though prices per kilogram have eased somewhat from last year.
The board said it expects total sales of 177 million kilograms this year compared with 123 million kilograms in 2010 that earned the nation US$348 million. At the current price per kilogram of US$2.68, that should bring in some US$475 million.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board Deputy Chief Executive Njodzi Machirori said most of this year's tobacco crop is being delivered by indigenous farmers.
“These farmers are using rudimentary ways of processing tobacco though they provide the bulk of the golden leaf,” said Machirori.
Commentator Difa Dube said political insecurity in Zimbabwe is constraining growth in some other sectors which are trailing agriculture.
“Ruling parties and other stakeholders need to tackle the current political situation in the country in order to promote growth in all sectors of the economy,” Dube said.
Tobacco production in Zimbabwe is still below peak levels of about 236 million kilograms achieved in 2000 before President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF seized white-owned commercial farms. Output hit an all-time low of 58.6 million kilograms in 2009.