Tobacco deliveries this year are expected to end above the 210 million kilogrammes mark with 209,8 million kg having already been delivered to the floors so far.
The 209,8 million kg represent a 31,74 percent increase from the 159,3 million kg that was delivered during the same period last year.
Farmers have so far earned $666,1 million kg from the 209,8 million kg at an average price of $3,17 per kg, which is a 13 percent increase from the $587,9 million that they received during the same time last year at $3,69 per kg.
Contract sales have continued despite the official end to the selling season with the closure of the auction floors on June 27 after 89 trading days.
Auction floors brought in 50,5 million kg at an average price of $2,70/kg compared to 53,4 million kg after 99 days of sales, at an average $3,54/kg during the same time last year.
However, contractors handled the bulk of the crop this year accounting for over 70 percent of all deliveries.
According to Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chief executive Dr Andrew Matibiri deliveries are expected to close soon at just over 210 million kg.
“We have three contractors that are still receiving tobacco. A clearer picture will emerge after the clean up sales,” he said.
Mop up or clean up sales for the flue cured tobacco will be held today.
According to TIMB the clean-up sales might, however, be conducted over more than one day, depending on volume of deliveries. Stakeholders in the tobacco industry said the feat achieved this year is a clear and bold statement to the country’s detractors that the land reform had destroyed the agriculture sector.
“Tobacco farmers have done a remarkable thing because we are close to surpassing our peak period figure. This should be emulated with other crops such as cotton,” said one of the stakeholders.
The 209,8 million is just 26,8 million kg shy of the country’s peak production figure of 236,6 percent that was achieved in 2000. To date, about 106 455 growers have registered for 2014 season compared to about 91 278 who had registered by the same period last year.
Tobacco is one of the country’s top foreign currency earners and is expected to contribute the most to the 9 percent growth in agriculture this year.
Tobacco is one of the key crops that are expected to anchor the nine percent growth in agriculture this year within the framework of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.