TOBACCO farmers have so far earned US$9,7 million after the sale of 3,6 million kilogrammes of flue-cured tobacco since the season began last week.
The tobacco was sold at an average price of US$2,67 per kg. This is marginally lower than the US$10,5 million that was earned from the sale of 3,2 million kg at an average price of US$3,22 per kg during the same period last year. The tobacco selling season got off to a slow start this year as most farmers have been rejecting prices offered at the auction floors. The impasse over prices has seen some farmers withholding their crop accusing buyers of colluding to buy their tobacco for a song.
TIMB licensed 20 auction floor buyers this season compared to 15 last year, however, its understood that not all buyers are active. Of the US$9,7 million, US$4,9 million was realised through the auction system after the sale of 2,06 million kg at an average price of US$2,40.
The balance of US$4,7 million was received after 1,5 kg were sold under the contract system at an average price of US$3,04 per kg. Of the 2,04 million kg sold under the auction system, 1,02 million kg worth US$2,5 million was sold at Tobacco Sales Floor, 610 271 kg worth US$1,4 million was sold at Boka Tobacco Floors and 430 883 kg worth US$938 989 at Premier Tobacco Floors.