TIMB licences new tobacco buyer

HARARE - The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has licenced Chidziva Tobacco Processors (Chidziva) to buy burley tobacco this year following closure of sole-buyer Burley Marketing Zimbabwe (BMZ).

The move is expected to relieve burley tobacco growers who have over the years struggled to sell the crop.
BMZ — sold to cigarette manufacturer Savannah Tobacco in 2010 — was dedicated to the marketing of burley tobacco.

In 2011, TIMB was forced to return burley tobacco to farmers after failing to secure a buyer with the crop finally being sold for a song at Boka Tobacco Floors.

Andrew Matibiri, TIMB chief executive, confirmed the licensing of Chidziva.

“They are the only company that will be buying burley from the tobacco auction floors this year,” said Matibiri adding that, “we don’t have the dates yet for burley marketing season, but we can expect it to open in March/April thereabout.”

Last year, burley tobacco production declined drastically after most growers abandoned the flavour.

The country sold only 62 713 kgs compared to the 426 407 kgs sold in 2011.

Burley tobacco deliveries reached an all-time peak of 16 million kgs in the 1990s.

At that time, Zimbabwe was competing with Malawi, which has since outpaced it.

TIMB expects burley tobacco hectarage to increase from 16,7 hectares in the previous season to 144,2 hectares this season.

Meanwhile, the 2013 tobacco marketing season is set to begin on February 13 with auction sales while contract sales will start a day later. Only three floors — Tobacco Sales Floor Limited, Boka Tobacco Auction Floor and Premier Tobacco Auction Floors — have been licensed to buy tobacco from farmers while Millennium Tobacco Auction Floors did not meet TIMB’s requirements.

Matibiri said the country is expecting good quality crop owing to the rains that have been falling in the country since mid-December.

He added that the weather conditions that have prevailed since December are likely to improve the quality of tobacco that will be brought in to auction floors when the selling season starts.

 “In some cases, however, the crop might have a bit of moisture owing to the heavy rainfall and this might affect the quality,” Matibiri said.

Matibiri added that tobacco prices for this season are not expected to be very different from those of last season, which averaged $3,74 per kg.

According to TIMB, the country is expected to produce 170 million kgs of tobacco in the current season after 77 910 hectares of land had been put under the crop, 38 percent up from 56 377 hectares last season.

Matibiri said more than 65 000 farmers had registered to grow and sell the lucrative crop this season compared to 34 673 last season.

Last year, Zimbabwe raked in $771 million, at an average of $5,94 per kg, from tobacco exports. - John Kachembere

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.