Zimbabwe Tobacco Marketers See Output Declining as Much as 13%

(Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe’s tobacco crop, one of the country’s main generators of foreign exchange, is expected to decline as much as 13 percent this year, the industry-marketing board said.

Output may be 220 million to 240 million kilograms in the marketing season that began on Wednesday and ends in September, an official at the Tobacco Industry & Marketing Board said in the capital, Harare. Production last year was 252 million kilograms.

Zimbabwe is Africa’s biggest exporter of high-quality Virginia, or flue-cured tobacco.

The harvest will be reduced by drought and damage caused by Cyclone Idai to barns used to store the crop, the official said. An assessment is still under way to establish how badly tobacco fields have been affected in Zimbabwe’s eastern Manicaland region, the official said.

Tobacco growers began offering their crop at a sale in Harare on Wednesday, where prices ranged from as little as $0.20 per kilogram to $4.50.

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