Tobacco sales from the country’s auction floors have grossed $711 million after the end of the 2018 marketing season, with revelations that the figure might increase on the back of the ongoing contract sales.

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said the just ended 2018 marketing season has seen a total of 243 million kilogrammes of the commodity being sold compared to 187,9 million kilogrammes last year.

Auction sales for this year are pegged at $711 million compared to $560 million achieved in 2017.

TIMB Spokesperson, Mr Isheunesu Moyo said while contract sales are still in progress, paving way for the full closure of the marketing season in the next few days, there are still hopes that the total sales might reach $800 million.

“The sales are still ongoing. However with auctions having been closed we are still anticipating a slight increase in terms of the entire sales for the commodity,” he said.

Tobacco is one of the country’s strategic foreign currency earners with expectations that the commodity will continue to play a critical role in easing foreign exchange constraints affecting productive sectors of the economy.