• June 15, 2024

Leaf Sales Down

 Leaf Sales Down
Photo: Taco Tuinstra

Contracted and self-financing growers had earned more than US$600 million by Day 56 of Zimbabwe’s 2024 tobacco selling season, down from $722 million earned by the same day last year, reports The Herald.

The most recent season was impacted by an El Nino-induced drought, which caused the season to start late and end early.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board statistics revealed that farmers had cumulatively sold 173.76 million kilograms of tobacco worth $607.08 million by Day 56 under both the auction and contract systems. This represents a 16 percent decline in earnings from the comparable 2023 period.

 In volume terms, the leaf sold was 27 percent below the 239.56 million kg sold last season. The average auction price was $0.12 higher than that at the contract floors.

Some stakeholders remained positive about the remainder of the season. “On the back of an El Niño-ravaged season, we need to celebrate the 174 million kilograms achieved to date,” said Paul Zakariya, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union. “The marketing season is still underway and we expect more tobacco to come through. We may not necessarily reach the desired target, but we will not totally be out of range .”

Others were less optimistic. Tobacco Farmers Union Trust Vice President Edward Dune said it was highly unlikely that the 240 million kilogram target would be reached in the wake of the drought.

“Deliveries should definitely be declining now that the marketing season is almost coming to an end. Firewood cutting and nursery preparations are the major farmer activities currently taking place on farms,” he said.