Tobacco selling season opens

HARARE - Zimbabwe's tobacco selling season began yesterday amid hopes that sales would exceed the projected output of 170 million kilogrammes.

Prices at the three auction floors yesterday opened ranging from $0,60 to $4,85 per kg, depending on the quality of the product.

Andrew Matibiri, the chief executive of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), said due to the surging number of tobacco farmers in the current season, he expects the country to surpass the 170 million kilogrammes target.

“To date we have more than 88 000 growers who have registered with us compared to about 65 444 who had done so at the same time last year. This obviously indicates that we will have more tobacco this year,” he said.

Last year, the southern African country missed its target by nearly 4 million kilogrammes after recording 166 million kilogrammes by close of the tobacco selling season in August.

Monica Chinamasa, TIMB chairperson, noted that growth in the tobacco industry was mainly attributed to the support provided by contractors.

“Contract farming is in line with the ZimAsset policy document that calls for the implementation of this
arrangement as a turnaround strategy in the agriculture sector,” Chinamasa said.

“Contractors supported more than 54 percent of the current registered growers and funded 72 percent of the total planted area for the 2013-2014.” During the previous season, contractors accounted for 68 percent of all tobacco purchases, up from 63,7 percent in 2012.

Chinamasa urged tobacco growers to continuously improve the quality of their crops.

This year TIMB has licensed three auction floors, Tobacco Sales Floor, Boka Tobacco Floors and Premier Tobacco Floors, while 20 companies were licensed as “A” class.

Acting Agriculture minister Ignatius Chombo said government was pleased with tobacco production’s expected growth for the fourth successive year.

“This bodes well for our economy, which is expected to grow by 6,3 percent this year, driven mainly by our mining and agriculture sectors,” he said.

According to official statistics, economy is expected to grow by nine percent and the growth is expected to be spurred by the tobacco sector.

“The agriculture sector still provides livelihood to approximately 70 percent of our population, between 15 percent and 20 percent of our gross domestic product, 40 percent of exports and supplies 63 percent of agro-industrial raw materials,” said Chombo.

“This makes the agriculture sector very important in employment generation, reduction of poverty and food insecurity.”

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.