TOBACCO SALES RAKE 62 MILLION
By Vimbai Kamoyo
The country’s tobacco buying companies as of the week 12 of the auction floor season had raked in just over US $62 million.
Free-funded auction sales opened on March 30 while contract floors opened a day later.
According to the figures released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) the country recorded a cumulative sum of US$ 62 147 792 in the week 12. Although the figure is impressive, it is a drop from the US$77 715 938 the country recorded last year at the same period. A descent of about 20 percent.
The board also said the country had by week 12 sold 21 914 035 kgs of tobacco. This again was a drop from last year’s same period when the country had sold 30 804 656 kgs which is a fall of about 28 percent.
The latest TIMB statistics show that at the auction floors, the prices are slightly higher than last year. This year the highest recorded on week 12 was US$6,50 against the US$6,40 recorded last year, a difference of US$0,10.
Small-scale farmers have been the lynchpins in the recovery of the tobacco farming. In the 2021 marketing season, the country sold 211 million kgs of which 133 million kgs came from small-scale farmers.
State media, The Herald, said in the interview they did with the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) President Shadreck Makombe, he said they expected prices to firm as the selling season progresses.
“But for a start, we can’t say the prices are bad, we expect the prices to firm given the situation that the supply is not as high as previous years, hence the prices will depend on demand,” he said.
The government has announced a catalogue of policies meant to build capacity in selected crops and minerals under its vision 2030 agenda and tobacco is one of them.
Under the Tobacco Value Chain Transformation Plan, the government set a target of producing 300 million of tobacco by year 2025 and the US$60 million fund it has set up to help farmers is among various initiatives aimed at pushing the agenda.
The fund has the potential to support 50 000 hactares of tobacco crop with capacity to produce 60 million kgs of tobacco.