The 2018 tobacco marketing season begins on March 21 amid expectations that will ease the prevailing foreign currency shortages, as it injects fresh money into the economy.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
This comes after tobacco merchants mobilised more than $500 million towards the purchasing of the golden leaf.
According to the Tobacco Marketing Board (TIMB) deliveries to the auction floor start on March 12.
“All stakeholders are advised that the 2018 auction tobacco marketing season starts on Wednesday March 21, 2018. Contract tobacco sales will start on Thursday March 22, 2018. Sales bookings will open on Wednesday March 7, 2018 and deliveries accepted as from Monday March 12, 2018,” TIMB public relations manager Isheunesu Moyo said.
A tobacco crop of at least 200 million kilogrammes was projected before the dry spell experienced between December and January. A similar projection remains after the wet spells which began in January.
The sale of tobacco will come as a major boost towards lubricating the country’s nostro accounts essential for the importation of cash, fuel and raw materials, among other commodities.
In his monetary policy statement, central bank governor John Mangudya said the bank would float the Diaspora Tobacco Production Financing Bond to finance tobacco production.
He said bond holders would be paid capital plus interest as single bullet payment at the end of the tobacco season.
Mangudya also increased the export incentive for tobacco to 12,5% this marketing season from 5% to encourage the growing of the golden leaf, one of the country’s largest foreign currency earners
Statistics from TIMB show that there is a 44% jump of farmers, who registered to grow tobacco from 82 305 last year to 118 142 this season.
There are 33 605 new farmers up from 14 952 last season.