THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) says auction floors continue to receive less tobacco compared to contracted tobacco sales due to lack of free funding for farmers to support themselves.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
In an interview with NewsDay, TIMB chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri said the trend was a continuation from last year, where 77% of the crop was contracted.
“There is no funding from the banks for the individual farmer. If only the liquidity situation improves farmers will be able to fund themselves,” Matibiri said.
He said auction floors were recording low business because of handling less tobacco.
Matibiri said this year’s tobacco selling season was progressing well despite deliveries to auction floors going down.
“The season is going on smoothly and the amount of tobacco coming to the floors has started coming down, but there is still plenty of tobacco out there,” he said.
According to the latest statistics from the TIMB, tobacco sales have declined by 7,06% to 126 million kg.
Tobacco worth $370,4 million has so far been auctioned. During the same period last year, 136,7 million kg of tobacco was sold raising $433,1 million.
The TIMB statistics show that deliveries at auction floors were recording daily average purchase of 352 141kg for week ending May 22 2015 as compared to daily throughput which averaged 663 275kg in 2014.
In the period under review, contract floors were recording daily average purchase of 1 856 418kg as compared to daily throughput which averaged 3 329 579kg.
Currently, seasonal sales for auction floors have traded 36,3 million kg at an average price of $2,48 per kg compared contract sales for 2015 season at 89,7 million kg at an average price of $3,13 per kg.
TIMB said TSF bought tobacco at an average price of $2,56 per kg, BTAF at $2,39 per kg and PTAF at $2,42 per kg while the contract average price per kg was $3,13.
To date, about 96 489 growers have registered for 2015 season as compared to about 104 737 who had registered by the same period last year.