BY TAPFUMANEI MUCHABAIWA
THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has reported a significant drop in the current season’s tobacco yields due to poor rainfall in most parts of the country.
TIMB said 30-day tobacco sales for this year declined by 18,13%, compared to the same period last year.
Some 5 837 475kg of tobacco were sold, while 77 402 247kg also came in through contract sales, giving a total of 83 239 721kg of tobacco delivered to the floors, compared to 101 672 752kg sold during the same period last year.
“The value of the sold tobacco stands at around US$247 789 777, showing a sharp decline in the sales. The average sales are at US$2,98 per kilogramme with around 1 095 661 bales having been sold,” the TIMB statement read.
TIMB spokesperson Chelesani Moyo said most growers of rain-fed tobacco were affected by the poor start of the rainy season.
“Due to the delayed rains received this year, most of the tobacco farmers are still in the process of reaping their crop, hence the decline in deliveries in comparison to deliveries received during the same period last year,” Moyo said.
“About 95% of registered growers are under contract farming in Zimbabwe with the remainder being self-financed growers. That explains why we have more farmers at the contract floors than at the auction floors.”
Hurungwe farmer Tazvitya Mataurika said this year was a hectic tobacco growing season due to poor rains.
“We experienced a poor start of the rains. This added to our woes as farmers because apart from having inadequate inputs, the weather was not conducive. I produce more than three tonnes of tobacco annually, but this time, I failed to produce even one tonne,” Mataurika said.
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