Runyararo Muzavazi Herald Reporter—
Over 18 million kilogrammes of flue-cured tobacco worth $46,7 million has been sold at the auction floors at an average price of $2,61 since the opening of the floors last month. The figure represents a 39 percent increase compared to tobacco sold during the same period last year when 13 million kilogrammes were sold at an average price of $2,48. The average prices are up by five percent as quality tobacco starts to be delivered at a rate of one million kilogrammes daily.
The latest figures released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show that 243 356 bales of tobacco have been sold, while 19 000 bales being rejected.
Reasons for rejection included overweight, mouldy and badly handled tobacco. The highest price recorded was $6 per kilogramme. TIMB spokesperson Mr Isheunesu Moyo said as of Thursday last week, the figures had doubled that of the corresponding season.
“2017 outputs are overwhelmingly high, we have good prices and high volumes of tobacco delivered as well as seasonal exports,” said Mr Moyo. This year’s marketing season opened with some farmers complaining over the new e-marketing system introduced by TIMB and the payment system, which required them to open bank accounts into which payments would be deposited rather than receiving spot cash at the floors as in previous years.
At least $800 million is likely to be earned by farmers this season.