This season, auction floors will start using e-marketing technology, a development expected to improve transparency in the selling of tobacco.
The system, among other things, allows buyers and sellers to conduct their business on-line without physical contact, which has been blamed for collusion on pricing in the past.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) corporate communications manager Isheunesu Moyo told New Ziana that setting up of e-marketing facilities was almost done at the auction floors.
“E-marketing has been rolled out; we are almost done putting up the electronic marketing systems at all the auction floors,” he said.
Mr Moyo said TIMB had re-licensed all three tobacco auction floors that operated last year for the 2017 marketing season.
The auction floors are Premier Tobacco Auction Floor, Boka Tobacco Auction Floor and Tobacco Sales Floor.
“The auction floors met all the requirements and their facilities are ready for the handling of tobacco,” he said.
He said the regulator was currently conducting a crop assessment to determine the actual crop size and quality of tobacco.
“Results of the assessment will assist us to determine the opening dates and adequately prepare for this year’s marketing season,” he said.
As of last week, at least 105 795 hectares of land had been put under tobacco.
Also according to TIMB, at least 81 461 farmers registered to grow tobacco this cropping season.
Since the country started using multiple foreign currencies in 2009, the tobacco industry has been one of the fastest to recover from the economic meltdown of the past decade due to favourable prices and organised marketing.
Many farmers have been abandoning other cash crops such as cotton for tobacco due to the favourable prices and orderly marketing. - New Ziana.