Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Tobacco deliveries decline

Tobacco deliveries decline

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 10 July 2011 12:58

BY KUDZAI CHIMHANGWA

TOBACCO deliveries at the country’s three auction floors have substantially 
declined as most small-scale farmers have sold their crop amid fears that 
the 170 million target set at the beginning of the selling season may not be 
achieved.

The slow deliveries have also raised concern that this year’s selling season 
could be the shortest and the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (Timb) 
won’t be extending the auctions.

A visit to the country’s three main auction floors showed minimal activity 
as only a few farmers could be seen delivering their crop.

On Thursday 142 461 kg went under the hammer compared to 255 192 kg last 
year.

Of the tobacco sold on Thursday, 71 735 kg were sold at Tobacco Sales Floor 
(TSF) at an average price of US$2,96; 22 160 kg at Millennium Tobacco Floors 
at an average price of US$3,02 while 48 566 kg were sold at an average price 
of US$3,17 at Boka Tobacco Floors.

Tobacco experts say most farmers had delivered the crop to the auction 
floors early anticipating high prices, as offered last year.

A graphic analysis by the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association shows that last year, 
the auction season commenced with average prices pegged at US$2,50 on day 
one before shooting to US$3,61 per kg by day six.

However, this year tobacco prices slumped from US$2,50 on day one to US$2,30 
by day four as small-scale farmers besieged the floors in anticipation of 
favourable prices that had been obtaining at the start of the selling season 
in 2010.

Similarly, on day 55 of this year, a peak of 1,1million kg had been 
delivered at the floors while only 328 000 kg had been sold during the same 
day last year, a factor which industry players have attributed to the 
increase in the number of auction floors this year.

Timb chief executive officer, Andrew Matibiri told Standardbusiness that the 
170 million kg mark would be achieved as this was based on estimates.

“The season is still ongoing and there is tobacco at the farms. It is not an 
issue of optimism but this is all based on available estimates,” said 
Matibiri, adding that it was too early to anticipate when the selling season 
would come to an end.

A few commercial farmers have been delivering tobacco at Boka Tobacco Floors 
and TSF as most small-scale farmers have returned to the farms to replant 
the crop for next season.

Meanwhile, Boka Tobacco Floors is in talks with Timb to facilitate the 
auctioning of burley tobacco. Between 700 and 1 000 tonnes of burley tobacco 
are expected to be auctioned this year.

Although growing burley tobacco carries less overheads, the crop is not 
preferred by most small-scale farmers as prices are not as favourable as 
those offered for flue-cured tobacco.

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