Growers of burley tobacco remain stuck with their harvest seven months into the tobacco buying season as there are no buyers for their produce amid indications Boka Tobacco Auction Floors is yet to secure funds for its procurement.
It emerged yesterday Boka is negotiating for a loan with a local financial institution with a view of buying the crop.
Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri yesterday said there was still no buyer for the local crop. Burley tobacco is a light air-cured tobacco used primarily for cigarette production.
“Boka will be buying the tobacco from the farmers and they will pack it and sell it to cigarettes companies in the country. No company has come forward to buy burley, no one is interested in it as it is for the local market,” Matibiri said.
Matibiri said Boka has applied for funding from a local bank. Boka Tobacco Auction Floors chief executive officer Rudo Boka said they were still waiting for the approval of their loan application by a local bank.
“We are still waiting for the finality of the application which is supposed to be done by end of week,” Boka said.
At least 3 000 bales of burley tobacco is sheltered at Boka Auction Floors waiting for takers. Despite there not being takers, the country has been flooded by international buyers of Virginia flue-cured tobacco.
TIMB opened tobacco auction floors in February this year for flue-cured tobacco which is expected to reach between 170 million-200 million kg this year.
According to TIMB weekly bulletin for the week ending 21 July, weekly purchases declined in week 23 registering throughput of 1,8 million kg from a peak of at least 10 million kg.
The average price of flue cured tobacco went down to $2,73 per kg from $2,93 per kg during the peak of the season.