TIMB secure burley tobacco buyer

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The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has secured a buyer for burley tobacco which had failed to find any takers during the just-ended tobacco selling season.

The tobacco selling season started in February and closed last month without any burley tobacco being sold.

It could, however, not be established how many kilogrammes were harvested this year.

Burley tobacco is consumed locally and used for manufacturing cigarettes. Farmers delivered burley to Boka Tobacco Auction Floors for safekeeping.

“We have secured a buyer and an announcement will be made formally in the next 24 hours. We will be starting to sell burley soon,” TIMB chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri said.

Matibiri said mop-up sales for flue-cured tobacco would start next week on Tuesday.

Boka Tobacco Auction Floors who had expressed an interest in buying the burley tobacco had until recently been negotiating for a loan from a local bank.

Boka managing director Rudo Boka could not be reached for comment as she was said to be in a meeting.

A total of 131,8 million kilogrammes of tobacco were sold at an average price of $2,74 per kilogramme raising $360,6 million in 133 days.

The figures were higher compared to the same period in 2010 when a total of 121 million kilogrammes of tobacco were sold at an average price of $2,90 per/kg earning $350,9 million.

A total of 1,696 859 bales were laid for the 133 days compared to 1,567 695 bales in 2010 while 1, 578 377 bales were sold compared to 1,439 670 last year.

For the period ending August 25, a total of 56 656 growers delivered the crop compared to 66 143 registered farmers to sell the crop this year.

According to figures from TIMB Mashonaland West had the largest number of growers who sold 18 723 earning $44,3 million.

During the selling season China, South Africa and United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom were the largest contributors to seasonal exports.

Seasonal exports amounted to $366 077 078 from 76 million kilogrammes of tobacco sold at an average price of $4,81 per kilogramme.

The agriculture sector is expected to grow by 19,3% this year with tobacco being one of the major crops in the sector.