Tobacco sales have raked in about US$400 million in forex since the opening of the auction floors with expectations to hit the US$700 million target this season still high.

Of major interests is the tobacco seeds uptake which have already hit a record high of 300 percent increase compared to last year in a move expected to boost tobacco volumes by a huge margin next year.

With latest statistics by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) indicating that tobacco worth about US$400 million has so far gone under the hammer at both auction and contract floors, expectations to achieve the initial target of US$700 million are still high considering the rate at which farmers are delivering the golden leaf.

Of major interest this season is the massive seed uptake which has hit 300 percent so far.

This is expected to see a big leap in tobacco production and foreign currency earnings for the country next year, says TIMB spokesperson Isheunesu Moyo.

Tobacco seed sales as at 19 May this year was 263 173 grammes compared to 65 040 grammes sold during the same period last year.

The seedlings for this year can cover about 43 862 hectares as compared to 10 840 covered last year during the same period.