• April 17, 2024

Zimbabwe: Auction Prices Hit Record High

 Zimbabwe: Auction Prices Hit Record High
Photo: Taco Tuinstra

Tobacco prices on Zimbabwe’s auction floors hit a record high of $5.05 per kilogram, the highest price in 10 years. The previous high was $4.99 per kilogram.

The increase comes primarily from “freed-funded” tobacco, which is grown by individual farmers and accounts for 7 percent of the total crop, according to The Herald.

The remainder of the tobacco crop is funded under contract schemes that are mainly sponsored by foreign companies.

Auction prices have increased 26 percent year-over-year while contract prices have increased 13 percent, according to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board. The auction floor price increase has reignited calls for an increase in local financing for tobacco growing.

“The continued reliance on contract farming after two decades suggests there might be deeper issues with the model itself,” said Tobias Musara, a Harare-based development economist. “Ideally, a few seasons of participation should equip the farmers for self-sufficiency. This dependence on contract financing needs to be addressed to ensure long-term benefits for our local farmers.”

Contract farming began around 2004, a few years after the government confiscated commercial farms and distributed the land among smallholder growers.