Tobacco sales hit US$602m

Source: Tobacco sales hit US$602m | The Herald

Tobacco sales hit US$602m

Lesego Valela

Farmers have earned US$602 million from the sale of 197 million kgs of tobacco since the opening of the marketing season in March.

The 2022 auction tobacco marketing season officially closed on July 20 but mop up sales will continue every Wednesday until all farmers have sold their crop.

Contracted growers are however, still selling their tobacco.

According to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, 90 percent of the tobacco has been sold through the contract floors.

TIMB’s latest statistics indicate that on day 88, contracted growers had sold 184, 7 million kilogrammes of tobacco worth US$561, 6 million while 12, 4 million kilogrammes had been sold by self-financed farmers.

The 2021/22 tobacco season was characterised by late onset of rains, with most areas receiving effective rains around end of November to early December 2021.

That was followed by a dry spell which stretched up to end of December.

Incessant and excessive rains in January caused water logging, nutrient leaching, and disrupted weeding and other agronomic operations. That adversely affected the quantity and quality of tobacco produced by some growers this season.

TIMB Chief executive, Mr Meanwell Gudu said the target may not be achieved due to the bad rainfall season.

The 2022 marketing season saw a number of farmers and companies being penalised for side-marketing.

With the gazetting of the SI 77 of 2022 specific to tobacco side marketing, the TIMB inspectorate department was able to bring to book growers and companies found undertaking side marketing.

Repeated offenders were made to pay administrative penalties to TIMB, and this went a long way in discouraging repeated offenders and also to deter would be offenders. A total of 11 companies were suspended, but eight of the suspensions were lifted and three tobacco companies were stopped from operating this season upon repetition of similar offences. Lifting of suspensions depended on the nature of the offence committed.