Tobacco sales have hit over half a billion dollar mark with prospects high that the US$700 million in forex targeted for the 2016-2017 marketing season is still attainable.

The US$500 million tobacco earnings have transformed lives of thousands of families in rural areas at the same time beefing up the country’s forex reserves.

Latest statistics by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board show that farmers have raked in over US$500 million in two and half months of tobacco sales.

Huge cartons of semi-processed tobacco could be seen at some warehouses in Harare as buyers prepare to export the over 170 million kilogrammes delivered by the farmers so far.

The half a billion dollars mark in tobacco sales will go a long way towards beefing up forex reserves and rejuvenating thousands of farmers to grow more tobacco which according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe can generate adequate forex to import fuel which can last the country a whole year.

Progressive Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe president, Mutandwa Mutasa said the US$500 million earnings have transformed lives of thousands of families who made rich pickings from growing the golden leaf.

The rich pickings from tobacco have also created job opportunities for tens of thousands of youths who are now venturing into growing the lucrative crop according to Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe president, Guy Mutasa.

With the number of new growers having doubled to over 18 000 bringing total registration to about 98 000 growers, expectations are high that tobacco production can  reach 250 million kilogrammes and turn the industry into a one and half billion dollar business venture in the next season.