• May 26, 2024

Zimbabwe grows biggest crop in 14 years

Zimbabwe’s flue-cured production has surpassed 210 million kg for the first time in 14 years, according to a story in NewsDay.

The last time output surpassed 210 million kg was in 2000 when it reached 227,726,000 kg.

By July 15, the day of mop-up sales, 210,598,690 kg had been sold for $668,002,625; at an average price of $3.17.

During the same period of last year, 159,852,776 kg had been sold for $590,116,320; at an average price of $3.69.

The 14.9 drop in average price is likely to be of concern to farmers because a growing proportion of the crop is now sold under contract (the figure is already more than 50 per cent) rather than across the country’s three auction floors, and contract prices have generally been higher than auction prices.

In May, representatives of the auction floors told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Mechanisation that in the absence of funding from banks, farmers had to grow their crops under contract.

“Banks stopped funding farmers and it is contractors that fund them, which kills business at auction floors,” Premier Tobacco Floors managing director, Philemon Mangena, told the committee.

Meanwhile, Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board statistics show that 106,456 growers have so far registered to grow the 2014-15 crop, up from the 91,278 who had registered up to the same time last year.