Tobacco farmers have raked in over half a billion dollars in foreign currency with latest statistics showing the industry is set to break the 252 million kilogramme record achieved last year.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) Spokesperson, Isheunesu Moyo said the marketing season is still underway and chances are that the tobacco industry will set a new record are high as farmers continue delivering the golden leaf.

“The season is still on and farmers have earned over US$500 million as compared to US$700 million last year. In terms of deliveries, over 251 million kilogrammes have gone under the hammer so far,” Moyo said.

Tobacco marketing expert, Taurai Jemedze said the fact that tobacco farmers have surpassed the set target and are likely to set a new record shows that the industry can hit the anticipated US$1.5 billion mark in the near future.

“Despite the drought which affected crops, the tobacco industry has managed to surpass the economic target. Although drought affected the quality and price of the leaf, the fact that the deliveries are almost equal to last year show the industry is set for a boom,” he said.

The growth in the tobacco sector has been attributed to various incentives which have seen the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) allowing farmers to retain 50 percent of their proceeds in foreign currency and the credit inputs support scheme introduced by TIMB for farmers.