Tobacco sales rise to $280m

HARARE - Zimbabwe has so far earned $280 million from 75,3 million kgs of flue-cured tobacco sold since the opening of the 2013 tobacco selling season mid-February.

This is a 24,25 percent  increase from last season when a total 59,6 million kg worth $225 million were auctioned during the same period.

This year’s tobacco prices have been competitive due to better quality of the commodity.

On day 43, the daily average price stood at $3,78 per kg compared to $3,72 last year.

Statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (Timb) indicate that the Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF), has so far auctioned 11,4 million kg of tobacco with a value of $42,3 million at an average price of $3,71 per kg.

Boka Tobacco Floors has sold 11 million kg of tobacco worth $39,9 million at an average price $3,61 per kg.

The average daily price at Premier Tobacco Floors has averaged $3,56 as the floors sold 7,9 million kg of tobacco worth $28,1 million.

Contract sales amounted to 30,3 million kg worth $110,4 million at an average price of $3,63 per kg.

So far a total of 1 064 485 bales have been laid at both auction and contract floors with 1 005 951 sold.
A total of 47 533 were rejected for various reasons such as being too wet, mouldy or of mixed hands.

This season has seen a marked improvement in service delivery with the long queues that had become characteristic of every selling season disappearing.

Tobacco sales this year are expected to rake in approximately $600 million, helped by firming prices and rising global demand for the country’s flavoured tobacco and the reduction in global output by 200 million kgs in 2012.

To date, about 82 833 growers have registered for the 2013 season compared to about 58 801 who had registered by the same period last year.

Small-scale farmers are dominating as they constitute more than 80 percent of the registered growers.

There are 35 755 A1 registered growers, 32 966 communal, 7 843 small-scale and 6 278 A2 farmers.

The growth in the number of tobacco growers has been attributed to the increase in the number of farmers due to the land reform and the attractive prices being offered by buyers.

The attractive prices have seen 30 percent of traditional cotton growers shifting to tobacco during this season.

A total of 170 million kgs are expected to be sold this season as the country moves towards regaining the status as one of the top tobacco producers in the world. - Business Writer

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