Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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High output expected as tobacco selling season opens

High output expected as tobacco selling season opens

Sunday, 22 January 2012 13:20

THE 2012 tobacco selling season opens on February 15 amid expectations from 
stakeholders of high output and quality crop.

The tobacco would be auctioned at four floors — Tobacco Sales Floor, Boka 
Tobacco Floors, Millennium Tobacco and Premier Tobacco.

Players in the industry told Standardbusiness they hope for a “bit more in 
terms of national yield and better quality tobacco”.

Zimbabwe Progressive Tobacco Farmers Union president, Nicholas Kapungu, told 
Standardbusiness that the organisation is optimistic ahead of the selling 
season, as all members will sell the crop to one buyer, Star International 
Tobacco, whom they have agreed with on prices.

“We agreed with them on the prices before we planted our tobacco and the 
price is good,” he said.
Kapungu said the union had secured the buyer to avoid congestion which 
characterised floors the previous selling season.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (Timb) has already promised it has done 
its work and the coming selling season would be congestion- free.

Kapungu said his union has a membership of 21 000 farmers, but managed to 
secure inputs for 5 000 farmers. Each of the farmers was given inputs for 
one hectare.

Kapungu said his union had organised for trucks to deliver tobacco to the 
floors from the various districts. Every season, farmers complain of the 
high transport costs to the floor, with growers saying the transport 
operators were milking them of their hard-earned cash.

On burley tobacco, Kapungu said his union had identified a foreign buyer for 
their crop starting next year. The buyer will provide inputs for burley. The 
move to secure a foreign buyer for burley is a major breakthrough in the 
tobacco industry as growers have been facing problems after the closure of 
Burley Marketing Zimbabwe (BMZ), an auction floor that was dedicated to the 
marketing of burley tobacco.

Burley tobacco growers — who owned BMZ — sold the floor to Savannah Tobacco, 
a cigarette manufacturing company, in 2010.

Timb has already said that it expects buyers to exhaust the local crop 
before it resorts to imports. Tobacco production is on the increase buoyed 
by favourable prices on the auction floor but it has not yet reached 
yesteryears’ peak.

In the 2011 season, 132,4 million kg were sold below the 170 million kg 
output which had been projected by Timb.

It raked in US$361,5 million compared to the US$355,6 million realised in 
2010. At its peak, Zimbabwe produced 236 million kg in 2000.


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