HARARE – Zimbabwe has realised $400 million from 103 million kg of flue-cured tobacco sold since the opening of the 2013 selling season mid-February.
This indicates a 29,10 percent increase from last season when a total $84 million kg worth $315 million were auctioned in the same period.
This year’s tobacco prices remain competitive due to consistent good quality of the commodity.
On day 55, the daily average price stood at $3,78 per kg compared to $3,79 last year.
Statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (Timb) indicate that the Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) one of the three licensed tobacco auctioneers has so far sold 15,8 million kg of the golden leaf valued at $58,2 million at an average $3,67 per kg.
Boka Tobacco Floors has sold 14,9 million kg of tobacco worth $53 million at an average price $3,55 per kg.
The average daily price at Premier Tobacco Floors has averaged $3,53 as the floors sold 10,3 million kg of tobacco worth $36 million.
Contract sales amounted to 66,8 million kg worth $253 million at an average-price of $3,78 per kg.
So far a total of 1 502 764 bales have been laid at both auction and contract floors with 1 424 875 sold.
A total of 62 741 were rejected for various reasons such as being too wet, mouldy or of mixed hands.
This season has seen a marked improvement in service delivery with the long queues that had become characteristic of every selling season disappearing.
Tobacco sales this year are expected to rake in approximately $600 million helped by firming prices and rising global demand for the country’s flavoured tobacco and the reduction in global output by 200 million kg in 2012.
To date, about 82 833 growers have registered for the 2013 season compared to about 58 801 who had registered by the same period last year.
Small-scale farmers are dominating as they constitute more than 80 percent of the registered growers.
There are 35 755 A1 registered growers, 32 966 communal 7 843 small-scale and 6 278 A2 farmers.
The growth in the number of tobacco growers has been attributed to the increase in the number of farmers due to the land reform and the attractive prices being offered by buyers.
The attractive prices have seen 30 percent of traditional cotton growers shifting to tobacco during this season.
A total of 170 million kg are expected to be sold this season as the country moves towards regaining the status as one of the top tobacco producers in the world. – Business Writer