Tobacco deliveries increase

HARARE - The 2018 tobacco deliveries to the auction floors continue to increase after 21 days of marketing, with 40 million kilogrammes of tobacco going under the hammer earning Zimbabwe $112 million.

Statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show that the 2018 earnings declined by 11 percent from $126 million during the same period last year when 47 million kg had been sold.

However, prices for 2018 season have improved with the seasonal price recording an average price of $2,78 per kg up from $2,68 per kg last season.

With 28 buyers buying the golden leaf at the auction floors and contract sales, the highest price recorded was $6,22 per kg at the contract floors while the prices at the auction floors have failed to breach the $4,99 ceiling price.

The $4,99 ceiling price at auction floors has become a bone of contention between buyers and farmers as farmers accuse buyers of reaping them off arguing that the $4,99 cap did not reflect the true value of the crop at auction floors.

The lowest price recorded was $0,10 per kg.

At least 31 322 contract growers have delivered their crop, while 9 862 non-contracted growers have also delivered their crop to the auction floors.

TIMB has 135 000 registered growers on its database for 2018 compared to 94 000 last year.

Contract sales have so far raked in $94 million from 33,4 million kg this year at an average price of $2,80 per kg.

Auction sales this year earned $17 million from the sale of 7 million kg, for an average price of $2,69 per kg.

Tobacco exports for 2017 show that Zimbabwe exported 43 million kg of tobacco worth $205 million. For 2018, 27 million kg of tobacco valued at $116 million has been exported.

The country’s major export destinations include China which imports the bulk of the tobacco, Indonesia, South Africa, Belgium, United Arab Emirates and Sudan.

Zimbabwe currently exports 98 percent of the tobacco produced.

Seed sales for the 2019 season have begun with 6 973 grammes of tobacco seedlings having been sold to cover 1 163 hectares. — Financial Gazette

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