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By Millicent Mtombeni-
Farmers have so far sold 152 million kilogrammes of tobacco worth US$415 million, which is 40 percent higher than the volume of tobacco sold over the same period last year.
Statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show that lower volumes were sold on the auction floors compared to what was delivered to contract floors.
A total of 136 218 bales have so far been sold via the auction floors while 1 880 326 bales have been sold through contract floors.
Buyers have thus far offered the highest price of US$4,99 per kg for deliveries to the auction floors while the highest price of $6.70 per kg was recorded at the contract floors.
To date, 78 868 bales of tobacco have been rejected with 22 211 bales rejected at the auction floors while 50 657 bales were rejected at the contract floors.
This implies that rejection rates were lower at auction floors than contract floors.
Tobacco is normally rejected for being mouldy, mixed hands and dirt. About 200 million kilogrammes of tobacco are expected this season. Last year farmers sold 186 million kg.
This year’s tobacco selling season has been progressing well with most farmers generally happy with the payment modalities.
However, the industry is implementing stringent regulations announced by the Government to curb the spread of Covoid-19 pandemic.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Dr Shadreck Makombe, urged farmers to continue following the Covid-19 regulations for their own sake and better health.
“We encourage farmers to abide by the Covid-19 regulations for betterment of people’s health because we only have one life,” he said.
Tobacco is one of the major foreign currency earners in Zimbabwe.
The crop is now being produced through the contract system where farmers are given inputs and expert advice/ only a paltry of the crop is being produced by self-financed farmers.
The increase in tobacco production saw a number of contractors.