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Tobacco Output Drops On Bad Weather

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After posting successive record tobacco output in the past two years, the country’s is set to register a decline in output this year on account of bad weather ahead of the opening day of the marketing season scheduled for 30 March, the Tobacco Marketing Board (TIMB) has said.

Last year, tobacco delivered to the auction floors reached 185 million kg worth US$ 517 million surpassing 157 million kg recorded prior year.

However, Zimbabwe’s tobacco hectarage for the current season declined by 11 percent, according to results of the first round crop and livestock survey for the 2021-2022 season. This has been worsened by bad weather.

“Generally the rainfall season was late with effective planting rains received around end-November to mid-December 2021,” said TIMB chief executive, Meanwell Gudu at a media interface.

“The late dryland crop has poor stand due to prolonged dry spell which was experienced post planting time towards end of December.”

He however said the irrigated crop is medium to heavy bodied, predominantly lemon in colour and reflecting a fair to good quality.

The main dryland crop is medium bodied in the commercial sector whilst being light to medium bodied in the smallholder sector.

Tobacco is the country’s biggest foreign currency earner outside mineral commodities and is in the top 5 export earners with the likes of gold, platinum, chrome and diamond.

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Due to anticipated decline in output from other producers like Brazil which experienced heavy floods and damaged the crop, there are high expectations of good prices this year.

The average price for the 2021 selling season was 2.73 dollars per kg.

“Due to anticipated reduced volumes in Zimbabwe this season, there will be more pressure on the demand side to take the crop, which should naturally increase prices upwards,” said Gudu.

Prices on auction floors will be determined by the bidding process, the highest bid being the final price on every tobacco bale.

Tobacco farmers shall be paid 75% of their sales proceeds in foreign currency and the 25% portion shall be paid in local currency, converted at the prevailing auction exchange rate on the day of sale.

The 2022 auction tobacco marketing season opens on Wednesday 30 th March with contract tobacco sales starting on Thursday 31 March 2022.


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