Sales of flue-cured tobacco declined by 21 percent to 7,3 million kg compared to 9,3 million kg sold during the same period last year, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has said.
The TIMB said in its weekly update that is as at Friday last week, exactly 12 days after sales opened, at least 7,3 million kg of tobacco worth $16, 2 million had been sold at an average price of $2,23 per kg.
This is 21 percent less than 9,3 million kg valued at $26,5 million sold at an average price of $2,85 per kg during the comparable period last year.
Poor prices dampened the opening of this season as prices were as low as $0,60 per kg at some auction floors.
The heavy rains that delayed harvesting of the crop and subsequently the opening of the floors, have been blamed for the low prices as they affected the quality of the tobacco.
Cumulative auction floor sales amounts to 2,5 million kg at an average price of $1,60 per kg compared to 4,7 million kg purchased by contractors at an average price of $2,23 per kilogram.
In the corresponding period last year, about 3,7 million kg of tobacco was auctioned at an average price of $2,42 per kg while contract purchases had 6,6 million kg at an average price of $3,14 per kg.
The TIMB said a total of 92 027 growers have registered to sell tobacco this marketing season, 17 344 of who are new growers.
According to the TIMB, seasonal flue cured tobacco exports have reached 32,7 million kg valued at $216,2 million, up from 14,7 million kg worth $54 million realized during the same period last year,
Zimbabwe expects 190 million kg of tobacco to be sold this year, compared to 216 million kg sold last year. – New Ziana