Zimbabwean leaf tobacco sales totaled $49.9 million after the first nine days of trading, compared to $24.5 million during the same period in 2020, the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) reported.
Leaf growers delivered 19.97 million kg during the first nine days, up 83 percent over the 10.8 million kg from like 2020. This season’s crop garnered an average price of $2.50 per kg to date, up from $2.27 per kg at this point last season.
However, farmers’ unions are displeased with current leaf prices, which dropped during the second week of the marketing season.
“The first week of this tobacco selling season saw the firming of prices above $5 per kg; some tobacco was sold at $6.30 per kg, which was paid by contractors,” said Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union President Shadreck Makombe. “Prices at direct auction hovered around $4.99 per kg. Every merchant was out fighting to dominate. In the second week, most contractors dropped prices. They are now buying at a discounted price. This is a big blow to most of the farmers who are contracted and are the majority of tobacco growers. They cannot sell elsewhere.”
Prior to the start of the marketing season, industry representatives expressed concern about tobacco growers’ ability to repay their debts.