TOBACCO auction floors are putting up final touches at their premises ahead of the start of the 2014 tobacco selling season set for next week.
By Tarisai Mandizha
The 2014 tobacco selling seasons begins on February 19 with three auction floors taking part.
Last year, a total of 166 million kilogrammes went under the hammer.
The auction floors are Premier Tobacco Auction Floor (PTAF), Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) and Boka Tobacco Auction Floors (BTAF).
TSF managing director James Mutambanesango yesterday told NewsDay in an interview that they were more than ready for this year’s tobacco selling season.
“We are more than ready in terms of legal procedures and preparing the auction floors for our farmers to meet their expectations,” Mutambanesango said.
He said eight banks had since confirmed they would be setting up operations at the auction floors and two more were expected to come on board.
Mutambanesango said TSF expected to sell between 1 000 and 1 500 bales on the first day, adding that farmers were usually cautious over pricing at the beginning of the season.
He added that TSF was making final touches on the refurbishments of the place to make sure canteens, accommodation and ablution facilities were up to standard.
PTAF managing director Philemon Mangena said they were targeting to sell 3000 bales on the opening day of the season.
“We are ready. Everything is now in place and we are now sprucing up the floors like we do every season,” Mangena said.
“We are hoping to do 3 000 bales on the first day of the season.”
Mangena, however, said they had increased the number of banking institutions at their floors to five up from three the previous season.
According to statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, 87 281 growers registered for this year’s farming season with the biggest increase having been recorded in communal areas and A1 farmers, followed by A2 and small-scale farmers.
The figures indicated that 26 816 farmers registered this year were new growers.
Communal growers recorded 47%, followed by A1 farmers at 34%, while A2 farmers and small-scale farmers stood at between 8% and 11% respectively.