Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zim’s tobacco industry records sales boom

Zim’s tobacco industry records sales boom

Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:34

ZIMBABWE’S tobacco industry is experiencing an unprecedented increase in 
sales volumes and consistency in favourable prices on offer, following the 
general shortage of the golden leaf on the market.

Brazil, which is one of the world’s leading tobacco producing nations, with 
an annual average production rate of 867 million kg, was earlier this year 
affected by floods, thereby putting a slump in world market supply.

Statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (Timb) show that by 
Wednesday last week, a total of 77 285 861kg worth US$292 million had been 
auctioned at an average price of US$3,78.

This represents a 16% increase in sales volumes from last year’s  66 215 954 
kg sold during the same period. The figures show that by day 52 of the 
season, Tobacco Sales Floor offered a higher average price of US$3,71 per kg 
as compared to the other three leading auction floors.

The statistics also indicate a 29% decrease in rejected bales in terms of 
seasonal performance from 7,23% recorded last year. Timb chief executive 
officer, Andrew Matibiri, told Standardbusiness the quality of tobacco being 
delivered at all the floors was high and more of the golden leaf would 
continue to be delivered as farmers complete the curing process.

“The favourable prices obtaining at the moment are the result of a shortage 
of tobacco on the market and the fact that tobacco that originates from 
Zimbabwe is reputed for its good quality,” said Matibiri.

He said the Chinese market was buying 40% of the crop, West European market 
35%, while the rest of the world was buying the remainder. “This year, we 
set 150 million kg as an estimate, not a target as is generally perceived. 
We use this estimate for planning purposes,” he said, adding that whether or 
not the figure was achieved, would be immaterial.

A total of 57 000 growers registered to sell their crop during the current 
marketing season from a preliminary 15 000 when the season began this year. 
A total of 131 million kg of tobacco went under the hammer last year, 
generating US$360 million.

Zimbabwe exports tobacco to a number of African countries including 
Mozambique, Kenya, Angola, Tanzania and Lesotho, among others.


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