Elita Chikwati, Harare Bureau
Tobacco deliveries are set to surpass the last season record breaking delivery of 252 million kilogrammes as deliveries have continued at the auction and contract floors.
A record 252 million kilogrammes was delivered to the market during the 2018 marketing season.
In an interview at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show yesterday, Tobacco Industry and Marketing board communications manager, Mr Isheunesu Moyo said deliveries have continued and indications are that they could surpass last year’s volumes.
He said farmers were bringing an average of 400 000 kilogrammes of the tobacco to the floors every day and closing dates will only be announced after consultations with the industry.
“By day 102, farmers had delivered 251,3 million kilogrammes of tobacco worth US$507 million. This is an increase from the 249,6 million kilogrammes worth US$730 million that was delivered by growers during the same period last year.
“We are still receiving tobacco from farmers and we except to surpass the 2018 volumes because the season is still on and farmers are still bringing their crop for sale,” he said.
In general the prices this year are lower by about 31 percent to those of last year at US$2,92 per kg compared to US$2,02 per kg.
The Government’s Second Crop and Livestock Assessment report for the 2018/2019 report shows that 132 040 hectares were put under tobacco during the 2018/2019 season, up from the 104 395hectares that were planted during the 2017/2018 season.
The highest price at the contract floors is US$6,25 and US$5,97 at the auction floors.
The lowest prices at both floors has remained at US$0,10.
The 2018/2019 season has been described by many farmers as a difficult one due to the late rains that affected production and quality of the crop in some areas.
Farmers also complained of depressed prices this season compared to the previous prices, while others raised concern over the payment modalities of having 50 percent of their money deposited into the RTGS and the remaining 50 percent into their FCA account.
The TIMB said it will make evaluations at the end of the season and make recommendations to the responsible authorities to ensure the challenges are solved.