Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Tobacco selling season opens today


Tobacco selling season opens today

Agriculture Reporter
The 2015 flue-cured tobacco marketing season starts today, with the sector expecting about 180 million kilogrammes of the crop. The anticipated yield is a decline from the 216 million kilogrammes sold last season.

Erratic rains affected the crop this season. The auction floors normally open in mid February but the dates were moved to March as most farmers had not finished reaping and curing their crop.

Most of the farmers are still reaping and curing their crop.

Tobacco deliveries to the auction floors have also been depressed.

Boka Tobacco Auction Floors operations director, Mr Moses Bias said as of yesterday they had received 600 bales compared to 1000 bales during the same period last year.

“We expect deliveries to increase as the season progresses,” he said. Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chairperson Mrs Monica Chinamasa said the rainfall pattern had not been favourable for the crop and this affected yields.

“The rains have been erratic which has made this season unique. We should understand that climate change is real but we are happy that tobacco farmers are resilient and they have soldiered on. They are busy in their fields,” she said.

TIMB chief executive Dr Andrew Matibiri said the decline in production could work in favour of farmers.

He said the sector had received an order for 230 million kilogrammes this season.

Said Dr Matibiri, “The output has declined by between 10 to 15 percent but this could work in favour of farmers. Last year there was demand for 230 million kg and we managed to sell all our tobacco. This year the demand has remained constant, which means that there is likely to be competition in terms of buying tobacco, which should push up prices.”

This season merchants have indicated that they are not willing to buy primings as they can get the crop cheaper elsewhere.

Dr Matibiri said farmers could bring their primings for sale but buyers will offer low prices.

Some farmers have pruned the primings since they are not on demand this season. TIMB has licences three auction floors, namely Premier Tobacco Floors, Boka Tobacco Floors and Tobacco Sales Floor.



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