Tobacco sales near $400m

HARARE - Zimbabwe has realised $398 million from 124 million kg of flue-cured tobacco sold since the opening of the 2013 selling season mid-February.

This indicates an eight percent increase from last season when a total 98 million kg worth $370 million were auctioned in the same period.

This year’s tobacco prices are subdued due to poor quality of the commodity as well as stiff competition from other producers such as Brazil.

On day 52, the daily average price stood at $3,20 per kg compared to $3,72 last year, showing a variance of 13,84 percent.

Statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (Timb) indicate that the Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) one of the three licensed tobacco auctioneers have so far sold 18,3 million kg of the golden leaf valued at $54 million at an average $2,94 per kg.

Boka Tobacco Floors has sold 8,9 million kg of tobacco worth $24 million at an average price $2,70 per kg.

The average daily price at Premier Tobacco Floors has averaged $2,74 as the floors sold 9,5 million kg of tobacco worth $26 million.

Contract sales amounted to 88 million kg worth $294 million at an average-price of $3,78 per kg.

So far a total of 1 735 369 bales have been laid at both auction and contract floors with 1 640 759 sold.

A total of 77 862 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 $700 million helped by the surging number of tobacco farmers from the sale of approximately 170 million kg of the golden leaf as the country moves towards regaining its status as one of the top tobacco producers in the world.

To date, about 104 737 growers have registered for the 2013/14 season compared to about 89 680 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 37 138 A1 registered growers, 47 585 communal 8 505 small-scale and 11 509 A2 farmers.

Over the past few years, Zimbabwean farmers have been abandoning growing maize due to viability concerns.

Industry experts say most local farmers are now considering growing tobacco and not the staple crop or other food crops, thereby pushing the country into serious food insecurity.

According to World Food Programme more than 2,2 million Zimbabweans are facing starvation in the current farming season.


 

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