Saturday, July 16, 2016

Zimbabwe Tobacco Rakes in $500 Million
July 16, 2016
Brenda Ziga
Herald Reporter—

Tobacco growers have so far earned over half a billion dollars from flue-cured tobacco sales. Latest Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board statistics show that farmers have sold 172 million kilogrammes of flue-cured tobacco worth $502 million.

This is a 5,45 percent increase from 162 million kg worth $479 million sold last year. Contract farming now dominates the tobacco industry, with the bulk of deliveries coming from contracted growers.

According to the statistics, 138 million kg of tobacco worth $419 million came from contracted growers, while 32,3 million kg worth $83,8 million were sold through the auction system. Most farmers are turning to contract farming because of favourable prices and the timeous supply of inputs.

Contractors also offer technical advice that boosts crop quality to fetch higher prices on the market. According to TIMB, farmers are still registering to grow tobacco next season.

The statistics show that 33 763 farmers have so far registered to grow tobacco for the 2016-17 season. According to the statistics, a total of 16 517 farmers who have so far registered, 12 383 are A1 farmers, 2 446 A2 farmers and 2 417 are small-scale farmers. TIMB public relations manager Mr Isheunesu Moyo said farmers were selling good quality crop.

“Farmers are selling good quality crop despite the bad season that they experienced. We have surpassed what we expected so far with 12 million kg. Even the average price for yesterday (Wednesday) was $3,17 which shows that buyers are buying the high quality crop with a good price,” he said.

A Guruve farmer, Mr Eric Kavhura, yesterday told The Herald that the amount collected by farmers had shown an improvement in black farmers in tobacco farming. “The amount we have collected so far as farmers show that as black farmers, we have improved in tobacco farming.

“We are still grading the crop so we expect to deliver more tobacco to the floors. I am expecting to deliver 5 000kg before the marketing season ends,” he said.

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