Zimbabwe’s tobacco auctions will open tomorrow, March 8, with an official ceremony at the Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF), reports Chronicle. Although the auctions sell only around 5 percent of Zimbabwe’s crop, they are the major price setter and must thus occur first. Deliveries for the contract crop are scheduled to start March 9.
This year’s marketing season kicks off earlier than last year because favorable rainfall has resulted in sufficient volumes of cured and graded tobacco to start selling. In addition to the TSF, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board has licensed the Premier Tobacco Auction Floor and the Boka Tobacco Floors to auction tobacco this season.
Farmers interviewed by The Herald said they were optimistic about the upcoming sales season, citing favorable growing conditions and good quality leaf.
“This year’s yield will be better than the previous season due to the implementation of best agronomic practices,” Victor Mariranyika, president of the Tobacco Farmers’ Union Trust, was quoted as saying. “In terms of agronomic practices, the farmers have been looking after the crop very well, from seedbed to the auction, and we don’t expect any damage to the tobacco as a result of the rains.”
Tobacco growers will receive 85 percent of their earnings in U.S. dollars this year, up from 75 percent last. The remainder will be distributed in local currency. About 160,000 farmers grow tobacco in Zimbabwe, which is then exported to 60 countries.