Tobacco sales begin amid high hopes

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The 2024 tobacco sales and marketing season has kicked off. Officially opening the event on Wednesday, March 13, was the Vice President of Zimbabwe, Hon. Gen (rtd) Dr CGDN Chiwenga.

The event, held at the Tobacco Sales Floor in Willowvale, is traditionally a moment of great joy and excitement as we witness the culmination of hard work, dedication and collaboration. The first bale of tobacco fetched the price of USD4.92/kg.

The opening of the floors is arguably one of the most important events on Zimbabwe’s farming calendar as agriculture remains one of the key sectors in our accelerated drive to achieve an empowered and prosperous upper-middle-income society by 2030.

In 2020, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency, Dr ED Mnangagwa, launched the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy. This has now been refined to the Agriculture, Food Systems and Rural Transformation Strategy, aimed at enhancing agricultural production productivity and profitability in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1) ending in 2025.

Agriculture makes a significant contribution to foreign currency earnings and tobacco remains the flagship of this sector. Foreign currency retention for Tobacco growers for the 2023/24 marketing season was standardised at 75% in line with the retention level for other market players, with the remaining 25% will be paid to tobacco growers in local currency.

This year, Zimbabwe will be hosting the world Tobacco Africa expo from 15 to 16 May. World Tobacco Africa will host the all-new Africa Leaf Tobacco conference alongside an exhibition of suppliers to the industry.

The tobacco growing sector was not spared from the effects of the El Niño event, and a total of 113,101 ha was planted, in comparison to 117,645 ha planted at the same time the previous year. According to TIMB’s board chairman, Patrick, Devenish, a delay in the onset of the rains affected the delayed timing for the planting of the dryland crop. This caused a delayed establishment of crops for small-scale farmers who contribute over 70 per cent of the national yield. Consequently, there was a decline in volume produced per hectare.

A total of 36 contractors and 40 class “A” buyers have been licensed for this year’s marketing season. The TIMB has also approved decentralised contract sales to be conducted at five designated centres and these are Karoi, Mvurwi, Bindura, Marondera and Rusape.

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