Tobacco farmers rake in $236 million 

Source: Tobacco farmers rake in $236 million – DailyNews Live

Tabitha Mutenga      10 May 2018

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s tobacco farmers have so far earned over $236 million
from 83 million kilogrammes (kg) that have gone under the hammer at the
country’s auction floors in the last 30 days.

Statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board show that last
year during the same period, the farmers had sold 79 million kg of tobacco
worth $227 million.

As the deliveries improve, seasonal average prices have increased from
$2,76 per kg last year to $2,87 per kg. The highest price at the auction
floors remains at $4,99 per kg while the prices for the contract sales
have reached $6,25 per kg.

Tobacco production dropped from 202 million kg in 2016 to 189 million in
2017 as some farmers who benefited from Command Maize substituted the crop
for maize.

Given the adverse weather season characterised by the late onset of rains
and prolonged dry spells, the top foreign currency earner production is
forecasted to drop to 185 million kg in 2018 and gradually improve to 200
000 million in 2020.

The outbreak of the potato virus is also expected to affect the quality of
the golden leaf in this marketing season.

As part of efforts to enhance foreign currency inflows into the country,
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe increased the Tobacco Finance Facility from
$28 million in 2017 to $70 million for the 2018 planting season which
supports increased production forecasts in 2019 going forward.

The auction floors which now manage about 16 to 20 percent of the crop
have so far raked in $37 million from 13 million kg with the Tobacco Sales
Floor recording the largest quantities of tobacco passing through the
auction floors at 8,9 million kg.

Contract sales have so far contributed about $199 million to the total
earnings with the 23 contractors having bought 69,4 million kg from the
farmers.

About 80 percent of the small-scale producers producing tobacco in the
country are contracted.

– The Financial Gazette

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