Exciting times for tobacco industry In its sales updates, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), however, revealed that there had been a 13 percent drop in the value of tobacco sold at both the auction and contract floors from US$560 472 380 last year to US$488 896 348 this year.

Agriculture Specialist Writer

THIS past week was quite eventful for the tobacco industry as Zimbabwe hosted the first World Tobacco Africa Expo (WTAE), while farmers pocketed US$489 million after selling 138 million kilogrammes of tobacco by Day 44.

The expo was held in Harare from May 15 to 16. It was running under the theme: “From seed to success – A new era for African Leaf Tobacco.” 

In its sales updates, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), however, revealed that there had been a 13 percent drop in the value of tobacco sold at both the auction and contract floors from US$560 472 380 last year to US$488 896 348 this year.

The volume of the leaf also dropped 26 percent from 186 830 365 to 138 124 417 kilogrammes. Self-financed growers have so far sold 8 011 960 kilogrammes of tobacco worth US$29 329 364 to the auction floors at an average price of US$3,66 per kilogramme. 

This represents six percent of all tobacco sales to date. Their contracted counterparts account for 94 percent of all deliveries after selling 130 112 457 kilogrammes valued at US$459 566 984 at an average price of US$3, 53 per kilogramme.

The average auction price is U$0, 13 higher than that for the contract for every kilogramme sold. 

The bale rejection rate for the 2024 season is now one percent higher than last year with the auction side high at 13 percent while the contract remains at two percent. The highest prices at both auction and contract floors have remained constant at US$5, 07 and US$6, 99 per kilogramme respectively. The lowest price at floors has remained static at US$0, 10 for a kilogramme.

Earnings from current sales at both auction and contract floors are now 55 percent of the value for the 2023 earnings of US$897 million spurred by the 18 percent surge in the average price from US$3, 00 to US$3, 54 per kilogramme by Day 44. 

Meanwhile, a youthful A1 farmer and beneficiary of the land reform programme at Mlichi Farm in Karoi, Mr Knowledge Mutamiri ,was a happy man after delivering his crop to the contractor. 

“I planted one and half hectares under contract. I have managed to clear all debts with my contractor and even retained a lot more money in profits. I got an average price of US$4, 70 per kilogramme,” he said.

An analysis of his sales sheet shows that he managed a high price of US$5, 70 and his lowest was US$2, 50 per kilogramme.

Mr Mutamiri said: “I put 22 000 plants of the KR73 variety under dry land on November 9. Of these plants, 14 000 produced a good crop with the remainder being severely affected by labour shortages. This crop’s weight was, however, severely affected by the El Nino-induced drought.”

He is planning to plant three hectares of tobacco next season because of his barn’s limited capacity.

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