Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Zimbabwe Tobacco Selling Season Opens Tomorrow

Tobacco selling season opens tomorrow

February 18, 2014
Agriculture Reporter

The 2014 tobacco selling season will open tomorrow with 47 percent of the crop expected to come from the communal areas. Stakeholders have expressed confidence that the 2014 selling season will surpass last season in terms of sales and quality of the crop while farmers expect firm prices.

Three auction floors will be operating this season namely Tobacco Sales Floor, Boka Tobacco Floors and Premier Tobacco Floors.

All the auction floors operators said they were ready for the selling season and had met the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board requirements.

TIMB expects an auction floor to have banking facilities, proper accommodation and ablution facilities for farmers, clinics and up to standard canteens among other things.

According to the TIMB, 89 624 growers have registered for the 2014 marketing season.

Of the registered growers, 47 percent are from the communal sector, 34 percent from the A1, 11 percent from the A2 and 8 percent small scale farming sector.

Farmers started delivering g their crop for sale on Monday and by late morning today, the auction floors had received above 1 000 bales each.

Tobacco Sales Floor managing director James Mutambanesango said some of the farmers who have delivered their crop are not registered while others had not sent their crop estimates.

TIMB had to dispatch teams to the floor to register the growers.

This season farmers who register after the opening of the tobacco auction floors have to pay US$250 as a fine. It costs US$10 to register as a tobacco grower.

Auction floor operators and other service providers in the tobacco industry this year carried out several trainings and meetings with farmers to equip them with knowledge on the selling of the crop.

The teams were teaching farmers on agronomic practices from growing of tobacco up to the presentation of the crop for sale.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Mr Wonder Chabikwa encouraged farmers to bank their money and plan before spending their money.

“It is sad that tobacco growers get their money once in a year and most of the times they do not put it to good use.

“Farmers should calculate their profits and spend their money wisely,” he said.

A number of tobacco growers have fallen prey to unscrupulous business people.

Tobacco production has been on the increase due to the favourable prices offered by buyers. Many communal farmers are shifting from cotton and other crops to tobacco.

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