Zimbabwe’s tobacco auctions will open March 13, 2024, reports The Herald, citing a Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) announcement. Contract floors will open one day later,
Last year, the tobacco marketing season started on March 8 for auction floors and March 9 for the contract buyers.
TIMB statistics show that farmers had planted 113,101 hectares under the crop by Feb. 2, a 4 percent decline from last year’s 117,645 ha.
Meanwhile, some farmers welcomed the announcement of the dates, saying that would help improve liquidity in the market.
Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) chief executive officer, Rodney Ambrose said he expects the market to be significantly firmer than previous seasons to counter the high production costs. Zimbabwe’s tobacco growing season has been impacted by alternating wet and dry conditions, which has contributed to an increase in pests and diseases. Given that other leaf origins, such as Brazil, have also struggled with extreme weather conditions this year, Ambrose expects leaf prices to be high.
The ZTA has asked the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to increase the share of earnings that growers are allowed to retain in U.S. dollars from the current 75 percent.
The government standardized all export retentions to 75 percent with the balance of 25 percent liquidated at the ruling interbank rate. Last year, farmers retained 85 percent of their earnings in foreign currency, with the 15 percent balance liquidated into local currency.