Staff Writer

At least 3.77 million kilograms of tobacco worth US$8.98 have been sold so far at auction and contract floors in the country since the selling season opened on April 7 this year, statistics from the industry regulator show.

The crop was grown in generally very wet weather conditions which prompted nutrient leaching and incidences of some bacterial diseases, particularly angular leaf spot but generally a fair to good quality tobacco leaf. Tobacco hectares rose 6.84% from 117 000 ha in the 2019/20 season to 125 000 ha.

For this marketing season, the number of registered growers is 145 625 compared to 147 931 in the prior year with more than 1 916 growers having registered for the first time. 

In a trading update on day 3, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said sales had increased by 1047.25% from US$783 465 recorded in the same period last year.

The average price for auction and contract floors stood at US$2.38 per kg which is 13.62% higher than the US$2.09 of the 2020 marketing season.

The crop has so far fetched a highest price of US$6.30 per kg while the lowest was at $0.20. Rejected bales increased to 1 483 from 110 in the same period last year.

Tobacco marketing season which opened last week saw the first bale (tobacco) being sold at US$4.30 a kilogram, which is higher than US$4 a kilogram in 2020. However, it was 4.44% lower when compared to the 2019 tobacco opening price of US$4.50/kg.

ETimes understands that tobacco farmers continue to demand to earn a higher percent of their income from sales in foreign currency, compared to the 60% prescribed by the government. 

Traditionally, the opening of tobacco auction floors leads to improved foreign exchange inflows in the country, with buyers scrambling to purchase the crop – Harare



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