HARARE, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe has sold a record 238 million kilograms of tobacco leaf worth 696 million U.S. dollars in the 2018 marketing season which closes this Friday, the highest ever in the history of the country, state media the Herald reported Tuesday.
This is an increase of 34 percent from the 177 million kg that were sold during the corresponding period last year.
Zimbabwe recorded its peak production of tobacco leaf in 2000 when 237 million kg were sold.
The increase in tobacco production has been attributed to high prices and the availability of funding from contractors and the government.
Over 3 million people depend on the tobacco industry for their livelihoods in Zimbabwe.
The southern African country is a major flue-cured tobacco producer in Africa and is among top producers in the world.
Tobacco is a major foreign currency earner for Zimbabwe, accounting for 11 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in 2017.
Production of the golden leaf has been on the increase in the last few years after having dipped to an all-time low of 58 million kg in 2008 after the country embarked on the land reform program.