Statistics from the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) suggest that Zimbabwe’s tobacco deliveries remain low at the auction and contract floors.
The statistics reveal that as of day 37 of the 2019 marketing season, only 87,8 million kilograms of tobacco had been delivered at both auction and contract floors. This, therefore, means that sales have fallen by about 23% from the 115,1 million kg delivered last year.
TIMB president George Seremwe said that sales need to go up for farmers to be able to prepare for the next season. Seremwe said:
We want full value of our tobacco. The 50% US dollar component is not sufficient to cover the cost of production and not easy to access. We can’t retool for the coming season because of the RTGS component. Our farmers were hoping for an improvement on both the rate and prices. We, therefore, would like to call an urgent stakeholders meeting coordinated by TIMB and the Ministry of Finance. We are very much concerned by the manner this selling season has gone so far.
The season was delayed by a standoff between the government and the farmers who were demanding to be paid part of their proceeds in foreign currency and an increase in prices.
The country’s target of 220 million kg this year now seems utopian as the output is likely to remain depressed.