Tobacco season opens in March

HARARE - Zimbabwe's 2015 tobacco selling season will officially open next month amid concerns of a poor crop production due to heavy rains that pounded the country in January.

Traditionally, the season officially commences mid-February and ends around early August, however, the season will kicked off late on the back of delayed rains and late harvesting by farmers.

The Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) yesterday advised stakeholders that the 2015 auctioning season opens on March 4, 2015.

“Accordingly, sales bookings will open on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 and deliveries accepted as from Wednesday, February 25, 2015,” said TIMB adding that Boka Tobacco Auction Floor, Tobacco Sales Floor Limited and Premier Tobacco Auction Floor were licensed to conduct auctions this year.

Meanwhile, China continues to dominate as Zimbabwe flue-cured tobacco’s largest export market.

Zimbabwe mainly exports its tobacco to China, South Africa, Belgium, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Egypt, Montenegro and Russia.

Statistics from TIMB show that total exports have so far yielded revenues of $187,4 million, with China having purchased 19,1 million kilogrammes of tobacco worth $166,5 million, at an average price of $8,72 per kg.

The TIMB figures show that South Africa is currently the second largest export destination for local tobacco as it has taken up 1,8 million kg worth $6,8 million bought at an average price of $3,77.

Russia is the third largest buyer, after having imported a total of 667 200 kg of Zimbabwean tobacco worth $925 402 at an average price cost of $1,39 per kg.

United Arab Emirates is fourth having exported 650 043kg of tobacco worth $2,57 million sold at an average $3,97 per kg.

Overall, 25,2 million kg of tobacco has so far been exported for $187,47 million. The total average price has improved to $7,44 per kg from last year’s $3,36 in the similar period.

On the other hand, Zimbabwe has imported a grand total of 39 600kg of tobacco from India and China.

TIMB says about 88 500 farmers have so far registered to grow the crop, up from 85 100 during the same period last year. Total flue-cured tobacco output in 2014 amounted to 216 million kg, compared to 165,85 million kg realised in 2013.

Zimbabwe in 2014-15 targeted to produce nearly 240 million kg of on the back of increased cropping.

Farmers sold about 216 million kg of the crop, passing the 200 million-kilogramme mark for the first time since 2001.


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