Incessant rains pounding parts of the country could disrupt deliveries of tobacco to the auction floors ahead of the beginning of the marketing season, it has been learnt.
The 2012 tobacco selling season begins tomorrow amid high expectations of a better season compared to last year.
Boka Auction Floors chief executive officer Rudo Boka said they were ready for the season expressed concern at the rains.
There is great concern about the pace at which tobacco is coming due to rains, said Boka. The bales might not come as expected but we are ready for the growers.
Boka said the floors had the capacity to handle 9 000 bales per day but this will depend on the bookings on the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) system.
We have made all preparations and we are ready, said Boka.
With four licensed auction floors this year compared to one last year, it is anticipated the selling season will get off to a good start.
TIMB chairperson Monica Chinamasa said a snap survey last week showed each auction floor was holding 600 bales.
Our season is a bit late. As we speak most of the farmers are still on their farms reaping and curing tobacco, said Chinamasa.
She said all auction floors were ready to start operating.
The marketing bodys chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri said TIMB was in the process of constructing a headquarters complex along Gleneagles road, Southerton, in Harare.
TIMB has never had its own office complex and has since its creation been renting space from auction floors, said Matibiri.
Obviously this state of affairs is not good as it compromises the TIMB operations ie the auction floor that leases office space to TIMB is supposed to be monitored and regulated by TIMB, said Matibiri.
He said the final cost of the building was not yet determined as it was being built in stages due to limited financial resources.
Work started during the last quarter of last year and at the moment concrete is being put into the basement and supporting columns, said Matibiri.
Matibiri was, however, unable to give timeframes as to when the project will be completed as progress was largely determined by availability of funds.
Matibiri a fortnight ago told Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Water, Lands and Resettlement that local farmers were eyeing rich pickings after Brazil and the United States had their crops swept away by floods.
As a result, Matibiri said the situation would create a deficit in the world market.
Slightly over 130 million kilogrammes were sold during the last season marketing season.