THE value of the tobacco crop delivered to the country’s auction floors has inched closer to the half a billion dollar mark as the cash crop consolidates its position as one of the top foreign currency earners, official figures have shown Statistics provided by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show that the value of tobacco deliveries stood at$466 142 098, up 27% from the same period last year.
Report by Tarisai Mandizha
The figures also show that more deliveries were made during the period under review as more farmers turn to the golden leaf to improve livelihoods.
A total of 125 million kilogrammes of the cash crop were sold by Friday compared to
$97 million kgs sold during the same period last year.
Currently, only three auction floors — Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF), Boka Tobacco Auction Floors (BTF) and Premier Tobacco Floors (PTF) are operating after Millennium Tobacco closed due to capital constraints.
The tobacco marketing season opened in February with experts projecting deliveries to reach 170kgs from 144kgs recorded last year which generated $525 million revenue.
In 2010, two auction floors — Tobacco Sales Floor and Boka Tobacco Auction Floors — operated the country’s auction floors after another auction floor, BMZ, closed down earlier on.
The sales, according to TIMB, comprised 79 954 million kg delivered by contract farmers with the remainder being auction sales.
Tobacco Sales Floor maintained its dominance, accounting for 17 969 million kg of auction sales, closely followed by Boka Tobacco Auction Floors (16 354 million kg) and Premier Tobacco Floor ( 11 471 million kg). In the period under review, TSF bought tobacco at an average price of $3,65 per kg, BTF at $3,54 per kg and PTF at $3,53 per kg.
At least 1 735 914 bales were accepted, while 71 254 bales had been rejected for various reasons.
About 72 204 growers have so far delivered tobacco against a total of 90 172 growers registered for the season. During the same period last year, about 68 604 growers registered.
At peak in 1998, 236 million kg were delivered to the country’s auction floors.