THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has said the poor quality of tobacco delivered to the auction floors this season has forced prices to remain subdued.
In an interview with NewsDay, TIMB chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri said: “The quality of tobacco that we are seeing is not very high as compared to last year, but it has improved as compared to the beginning of the season. We have noticed that in the first few days the price was low, but it has now gone up,” Matibiri said.
Latest statistics from TIMB show that as of Friday (Day 13), revenue had reached $29 million from the sale of 10,1 million kg of tobacco compared to $33,5 million from the sale of 9,8 million kg of tobacco in 2012.
The price of tobacco as at March 10 2014 declined by 16,35% to $2,87 per kg from $3,42 per kg during the same period last year.
The sales comprised 3 961 625 kg contract and 6,2 million kg auction sales.
Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union second vice-president Berean Mukwende said: “This year we are expecting a bigger crop as compared to last year and the low prices in tobacco is due to the behaviour of the buyers who are aware that the supply of tobacco is there and there is little competition.”
He, however, said that the decline in prices had nothing to do with international market price fluctuations.
Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) managing director James Mutambanesango said this year tobacco prices were slightly below last year’s figures, adding that stakeholders would continue to monitor the trends.
On Friday, 1,9 million kg went under the hammer at TSF while Boka Tobacco Auction Floors (BTAF) and Premier Tobacco Auction Floor (PTAF) sold 1,2 million kg and 872 112 kg respectively.
In the period under review, TSF bought tobacco at an average price of $2,51 per kg, BTAF at $2,34 per kg and PTAF at $2,33 per kg.
At least 141 081 bales were accepted, while 9 837 bales were rejected for various reasons.