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Normalcy returns at tobacco auction floors


Normalcy returned at the three tobacco auction floors in Harare yesterday, a day after farmers turned rowdy and protested over low prices offered by buyers.


On Wednesday, farmers stalled the auctioning of the golden leaf at the three auction floors — Tobacco Sales Floor, Boka Tobacco Auction Floors and Premier Tobacco Auction — demanding higher prices for their crop.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri said the situation was calm yesterday with no disturbances.

“Today [Thursday] sales went on well without any disturbances. After Wednesday’s disturbances we held a meeting with farmers and buyers. We talked to the buyers to offer fair prices and asked the farmers to respect the selling procedures,” Matibiri said.

Farmers have a right to withdraw their crop if they do not agree with the prices on offer.

On Wednesday 107,345kg of the golden leaf went under the hammer down from 309,103kg recorded during the same period last year.
The average price was $1,50 per kg down from $2,57 realised in the comparable period in 2014.

Tobacco has become a crop of choice among farmers due to better returns and this has seen most farmers switch from traditional crops such as maize and cotton to the golden leaf over the past three years.

For the 2015 marketing season, 90 000 farmers have registered to sell the crop. Of that number, 16 679 are new growers.

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