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Tobacco marketing season kicks off in 3 weeks

The tobacco industry regulator said this year tobacco farmers would be receive 75% of their sales revenue in foreign currency.

BY MELODY CHIKONO THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) yesterday said this year’s auction tobacco selling season would begin on March 30, 2022.

TIMB said contract sales would commence on March 31, with three auction floors having been licensed.

Top quality tobacco grades for premium brands are likely to remain unchanged at between US$3,5 per kilogramme and US$5,40 per kg, TIMB said.

The tobacco industry regulator said this year tobacco farmers would be receive 75% of their sales revenue in foreign currency.

The remainder would be paid in local currency, convertible at the prevailing auction exchange rate on the day of sale.

The 75% portion shall be paid directly into the growers’ foreign currency accounts and shall be treated as free funds.

The 25% local currency portion shall be deposited into the growers’ local bank accounts or e-wallets.

TIMB chief executive officer, Meanwell Gudu told reporters in Harare that preparations for the 2022 marketing season were at an advanced stage.

“Generally, the rainfall season was late with effective planting rains received around end-November to mid-December 2021.

The irrigated crop is medium to heavy bodied, predominantly lemon in colour and reflecting a fair to good quality.

The main dry land crop is medium bodied in the commercial sector while being light to medium bodied in the smallholder sector.

The late dry land crop has poor stand due to the prolonged dry spell which was experienced post planting time towards end of December.” he said.

Gudu added that due to anticipated reduced volumes in Zimbabwe this season, there would be more pressure on the demand side, which should naturally increase prices.

Some kind of hoarding of tobacco that may influence upward price movements because of disruptions in logistics caused by COVID-19 is also expected.

Supply chains were disrupted from 2020 into 2021 due to shortages of vessels and closure of some shipping lines.

Now that most parts of the world have lifted COVID-19 restrictions, Gudu said customers were likely going to grab this opportunity to stock up their tobacco, thereby creating artificial demand.

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