Three players apply for decentralised auction floors

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. . . as players set dates for 2014 marketing season

THREE companies have applied to the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) to operate auction floors outside the capital as players push for the decentralisation of the sector, official documents seen by this paper have shown.

BERNARD MPOFU,ACTING BUSINESS EDITOR

According to TIMB minutes of the preparatory meeting for the 2014 marketing season, tobacco output is this year expected to increase with official statistics showing that 85 006 growers had registered for the 2014 season to date compared to 64 463 last year.

The figures also showed that 80% of the growers that registered this year are small-scale farmers.

The minutes further showed that the size of hectarage that was planted for the golden leaf was up 25% to 97 982 hectares.

Players who attended the meeting also resolved to open the tobacco marketing season next month in a bid to ease liquidity problems besetting farmers.

“Dr (Andrew) Matibiri (TIMB chief executive officer) informed the meeting with regards to the issue of decentralisation, three companies had applied,” read the minutes dated January 7.

“One company was going ahead with the current decentralised contract sales floors in Karoi and Rusape and was opening a third one in Mvurwi. Second company will be working together with the first one. The third company had withdrawn their application to operate in Marondera and Mutare.”

The meeting also revealed that 26 403 new growers have registered for the 2014 season compared to 91 000 registered last season.

The development came amid concerns that some farmers are still illegally planting the cash crop after the seed bed destruction deadline of December 31.

“However, out of the 91 000, only 78 000 growers had delivered tobacco. Dr Matibiri added that registration is ongoing and that those growers who sought registration after commencement of the marketing season would pay a penalty of $250. It was hoped that this would go some way in reducing side marketing,” the minutes read.

“It was agreed to propose Wednesday 19th February 2014 as the date for the start of the marketing season. However, some merchants wished to have it recorded that they would have preferred Wednesday 26th February 2014.”

Currently, the country has three auction floors, all operating in the capital despite calls by farmers that decentralising the system would reduce costs.

Government projections show that tobacco output is this year expected to rise to 171 million kg from 166 million recorded last year as more farmers migrate to the cash crop for their livelihood.

3 COMMENTS

  1. All things being equal a 25% increase in hactarage means the tobacco output will increase from 166 Million kgs to 207.5 Million kgs (25% of 166 + 166= 25% x 166 + 166= 41.5 +166). These figures are very important because if Government is projecting 171 and we end up with 207 there will be insufficient buyers and the price of tobacco will go down.

    The government should realise that last year’s rainfall season was poor resulting in a poor yield yet this year’s rainfall season is good and the yield per hectare is likely to increase by about 25%. Then add the 255 increase in hectarage, Murimi’s prediction is that tobacco output this year will exceed 250 Million kgs.

    TIMB take these figures and check and the end of the season if Murimi’s prediction was wrong and if Murimi proves to be correct advise the President to fire top management in the Ministry of Agriculture.

  2. Does that mean grower’s renewal will also be $250? If its yes,then TIMB is reaping off è farmers. Daylight robbery chaiyo.

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