Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Tobacco farmers rake in $1,2m

Tobacco farmers rake in $1,2m

Elita Chikwati and Nyasha Chamwaura
Farmers have earned a cumulative $1,2 million from the sale of flue-cured tobacco since the opening of the selling season last week.

Statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board have shown a decline in the volumes of tobacco sold this season compared to the same period last year.

This season 775 997 kilogrammes of tobacco worth $1,2 million were sold, a decline of 17 percent from last season’s volume of 940 864 worth $2,2 million.

Of the volumes of tobacco sold so far, 10 298kg worth $16 275 were sold through contract floors. The decline in the volumes has been attributed to a late season and extreme weather conditions that resulted in floods and dry spells that affected the crop.

Most farmers are still reaping and curing their crop due to late planting.

The prices being offered this season are also low compared to the corresponding period last season.

So far, the average price is $1,53 per kg compared to $2,42 last season.

Farmers have registered discontent over the low prices which they say are not viable.

The farmers accuse buyers of trying to force them to switch to contract farming by offering low prices at the auction floors and higher prices at the contract floors.

TIMB statistics show that the prices at the contract floors have also declined, with the average price on Friday last week at $1,58, which is close to that offered at the auction floors. Buyers have offered a highest price of $4,95 since the opening of the selling season and a lowest price of $0,10 per kg.

TIMB chairperson, Mrs Monica Chinamasa has raised concern over the low prices. For the past years, the highest price of tobacco at the auction floor has remained at $4,99, while at the contract floors it could go up to $5,80 per kg.

The tobacco industry expects about 180 million kg of tobacco this season, down from a target of 222 million kg as the crop was affected by floods in some areas.


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