Tobacco farmers earn US$59m, 20 million kilogrammes tobacco sold

Edgar Vhera Agriculture Specialist Writer

DAY 13 of the 2023 tobacco marketing season saw farmers pocketing US$59 million from the sale of 20 million kilogrammes of tobacco.

Statistics availed by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show a 15 percent decline in earnings from the US$69 million recorded during the corresponding period in the 2022 season.

There was also a 19 percent drop in volumes traded from 24 million sold last year against the comparable figure of 20 million this time around.

The current average price of US$3, 01 is incidentally five percent higher than last year’s US$2, 86 while the average the contract floors’ average price of US$3, 04 per kilogramme is eight percent higher than that at the auction floors at US$2, 80 per kilogramme.

The highest price offered so far at the auction floors has still not passed the US$5 per kilogramme mark, as it remains at US$4, 99.

This year’s highest contract price of US$5, 50 per kilogramme is still lower than last year’s US$6, 50.

This year has seen a 51 percent bale rejection compared to last year when rejection at the auction floors was at 13 percent while contract floors stand at 2 percent.

Government’s 85 percent foreign currency retention, has resulted in growers pocketing US$50 million in their foreign currency accounts (FCAs) with the balance being paid in local currency at the prevailing interbank rate on the different dates.

The lowest price earned this year is the same as that of last year at US$0, 10 per kilogramme.

The average bale weight has shown a nine percent increase to 82 kilogrammes up from 75 last season.

Various players within the tobacco industry predict that over 230 million kilogrammes of flue cured tobacco will be sold this year.

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