Tobacco sales have reached a 113 million kilogrammes, with contract system dominating the marketing season. At least 60 049 farmers have sold their tobacco through the contract system, while 20 938 have used the auction system. According to the statistics released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, farmers have to date realized $307 million, 27 percent higher than the $240 million realized during the same period last year.

To date, 21,5 million kg has been sold through the auction floors, while contract floors received 91,7 million kg. Contract farmers contributed 81 percent of seasonal total tobacco sales against 19 percent for the auction floors.

The average price for the three auction floors was $2,83 per kg, two percent lower than the $2,88 of the 2016 marketing season. The highest price was $6/kg, while rejected bales stood at 91 047 compared to 62 568 last year.

Reasons for rejection of bales included oversized, underweight, badly handled and mixed hands. A total of 1,6 million bales were laid, with 1,5 million being sold.

Seasonal exports have increased by nine percent from the same period last year, with 41,7 million kg having been exported to 47 destinations, compared to 42,5 million kg exported to 38 destinations during the same period last year.

China remains the major export destination followed by Belgium and South Africa. The 2017 export price is 19 percent lower from $5,79/kg to $4,70/kg this year. New tobacco grower registration has increased by 80 percent from 18 826 in 2016 to 94 849 this year.

Extracted from The Herald, Zimbabwe