Runyararo Muzavazi and Tanaka Vunganayi
Tobacco sales have reached $21,7 million since the selling season started last week, a 53 percent increase from $14,2 million recorded in a corresponding period last year, as deliveries continue to increase steadily for both the auction and contract systems.
Farmers are taking advantage of the good prices being offered for the crop now at an average of $2,54 per kilogramme for both types of auction systems.
According to statistics released yesterday by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), by the close of sales for day eight on Friday, a total of 8,5 million kgs of the golden leaf had been sold at auction floors and contract farming since the beginning of the marketing season.
The average price for auction floors and contract farming of $2,54 per kg is 10 percent higher than the $2,31 of the 2016 marketing season during the same period.
The highest price was $5,50 per kg, while rejected bales stood at 9 237, compared to 2 981 last year. Reasons for rejection of bales included oversized, underweight, badly handled and mixed hands. A total of 123 314 bales have been laid so far, with 114 077 being sold.
TIMB spokesperson Mr Isheunesu Moyo said they were enthusiastic about the 53 percent increase this season. He expressed confidence that this year’s marketing season would be better compared to last year as a result of higher volumes being brought to the auction floors.
“We are excited about this season considering the high volumes and prices which have resulted in a 53 percent increase,” said Mr Moyo.
“This may see us reaching our projected 205 million kilogrammes.”
Tobacco farmers have been warned of bogus buyers, who fail to render the needed support when the need arises.
Mr Moyo said they stationed security guards on all entrances to reduce the number of bogus buyers that penetrate the auction floors since the e-marketing system was not functional.
He said this in reaction to concerns from farmers, who said more security was needed to safeguard them during the marketing process as bogus buyers would pounce.