Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Calm returns as tobacco prices firm

Calm returns as tobacco prices firm

Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Sales at Boka Tobacco Auction Floors and Premier Tobacco Auction Floors were yesterday conducted peacefully, while there were disturbances at Tobacco Sales Floors where farmers protested against low prices.

Sales, however, resumed later at TSF.

The start of the 2015 marketing season on Tuesday was marred by farmers protesting low prices of as little as $0.06 per kg at the auction floors, forcing buyers to suspend sales.

Farmers who sold their tobacco at Premier Tobacco Floor and Boka Tobacco Floors yesterday said they were encouraged by the slight improvement in prices compared to Tuesday and expressed hope that they will continue to go up.

PTF managing director Mr Philemon Mangena said the highest price at the floor was $4,91 per kg.

“Tobacco sales were conducted peacefully today. The highest price was $4,91,” he said.

A total of 700 bales were sold at PTF on Tuesday and they increased to 2000 bales yesterday.

BTF operations manager Mr Moses Bias said prices were firmer, with the top price reaching $4,50 per kg.

“The sales went on well and prices have firmed depending on the quality of the crop,” he said.

TSF managing director Mr James Mutambanesango said although there were disruptions in the morning, sales later went on well.

“We had disruptions when sales started today, which was a continuation of farmer discontent over prices that began yesterday.

“Despite that initial setback, sales resumed soon afterwards and ran smoothly until the end of business at 1400hrs this afternoon (yesterday), with all tobacco that had been laid being sold successfully,” he said.

The issue of poor prices at the auction floors has been a contentious one over the past years, with farmers resorting to demonstration and tearing of their sales ticket in protest.

The situation, however, took a turn for the worst during the past two years where merchants were accused of placing a ceiling price of $4,99 for auctioned tobacco, a situation that was criticised by the TIMB chairperson Mrs Monica Chinamasa during her address to farmers on Tuesday.

“The maximum cap ceiling or ceiling price of $4,99 per kilogramme that has prevailed at auction floor sales for the last two years is not desirable as it certainly does not reflect the true value of the leaf.

“This has resulted in a number of tobacco grades, of clearly different styles and quality, all fetching the same price,” she said.

“My question to the buyers is that does it mean that auction tobacco cannot fetch a price higher than $4,99 per kg while at contract sales, prices as high as $6,20 per kg were witnessed in 2014?” she said.


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