Tobacco marketing season closes

Rudo Boka

THE 2019 tobacco selling season comes to an end this week with the last sales to be conducted on Wednesday at all auction floors, the industry regulator has said.

This comes as the volume of tobacco sold at both auction and contract sales floors reached 252.6 million kilogrammes on day 104 of sale, marginally breaching the last year all time record production of 252 million kilogrammes.

The revenue realised this year of US$510.6 million is, however, 30.2 percent lower than the US$731.7 million of the comparable period last year. 

In a notice, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) advised stakeholders of the closing dates for this year’s selling season.

“All stakeholders are advised that the 2019 auction floors will remain open until Wednesday 28th August 2019. Deliveries to selling points will be accepted until Tuesday 27th August 2019. Clean up-sales will be conducted on Tuesday 10th September 2019,” the TIMB said.

Contract sales will, however, continue until all contracted tobacco has been delivered and sold. 

In 2018, the country produced an all-time high of 252 million kilogrammes of tobacco, earning at least US$1 billion dollars.

This year, the golden leaf is being sold at an average price of $2 per kilogramme, a 32 percent decline from last year’s average price of $2.93 per kg. 

The crop this year was grown under grim weather conditions characterised by late rains and prolonged dry spells, particularly when it was almost ready for harvesting.

Tobacco is the country’s second biggest foreign currency earner, after minerals, though the bulk of the crop is exported in its raw form with the exports generating in excess of US$1 billion annually. —  New Ziana