Tobacco prices on the wane

– Flue cured tobacco prices have declined by two percent from an average price of $2, 82 per kilogram at the beginning of the marketing season to $2, 76 per kg presently.

The highest price is now pegged at $6 per kg, which is a 4 percent decline from the previous high of $6, 25.

Latest statistics released by Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show that farmers have so far delivered 78, 8 million kilograms compared to the 61, 2 million kilograms delivered in the corresponding year.

This is 29 percent increase. Bales sold are now at 1 million kilograms worth $218 million. New grower registration is now at 18 522 compared to 9767 of 2016, which is a significant 90 percent increase.

A total of 16 617 farmers have sold their crop through the auction system while 48 896 have sold through the contract system. Tobacco exports have to date recorded a 5 percent increase from 36, 8 to 41, 4 million kilograms earning the country $201 million against $226 million.

There has been a decrease in outputs due to the decline in prices from $6, 16 to $4, 86 despite the increase in the mass and number of bales sold this season. The TIMB has expressed its joy that the e-marketing system has stabilised though there is still need to increase the speed of bidding process.

This marketing season has been characterised by a number of challenges which include the rain showers experienced recently which caused rejection of bales due to dampness, banks failing to meet the cash withdrawal limits as stipulated by the RBZ and the electronic marketing system failing to operate as expected.

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