Zim targets 190m kg tobacco output

HARARE - Zimbabwe has revised its tobacco sales target from 175 million kilogrammes (kg) to 190 million kg as deliveries continue to trickle in.

This was after the country last week surpassed its initial target by more than five percent at 183 million kg of the golden leaf earning the country a total of $537 million.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (Timb) communications manager Isheunesu Moyo yesterday told the businessdaily said the rising tobacco deliveries were a testimony of an improved performance by farmers.

“Zimbabwean tobacco farmers have improved on their agronomic practices over the years. They are also investing in farming as a business through putting irrigation infrastructure and rocket barns. As a result, they were able to adapt to El-Nino weather phenomena,” he said.

Production of the golden leaf was affected by drought early this year triggering fears that the country could miss its initial target.

Moyo, however, said the tobacco industry regulator will continue to hold trainings for farmers across the country to ensure that Zimbabwe reaches its all-time peak of 236 million kg that was achieved in the year 2000.

“We also have revolving schemes to install drip irrigation and rocket barns for tobacco farmers. This will improve quality and output,” he said.

Last year, farmers produced 198,95 million kg of tobacco pocketing over $584 million, a significant decline from 216 million kg recorded in 2014 earning the country $684 million.

As of yesterday, a total of 185,3 million kg worth $544 million had been sold at an average price of $2,94/kg since the season began in March.

This compares favourably with 176 million kg valued at $518 million that was sold during the corresponding period last year at an average price of $2,95/kg.

Tobacco production has been recovering over the past few years after collapsing at the start of the last decade as the sector adjusted to changes following the country’s land reform programme.

Experts, however, said the current marketing season could have been better had it not been affected by a number of challenges such as poor prices, shortages of wrapping paper, congestion and corruption by some employees at the auction floors. These have however, been dealt with.

Meanwhile, Timb said the flue-cured tobacco auction marketing season will end on August 5, 2016.

“Last day for delivering tobacco to the auction floors will be August 4, 2016. We will have clean-up sales on Tuesday, August 23, 2016,” Moyo said.

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.