2023 tobacco selling season kicks off

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By Alois Vinga

THE tobacco selling season for 2023 is set to kick off Wednesday esay amid indications that total output will exceed last year’s on the basis of increased crop farming hectarage in the 2022/23 farming season.

In an update this week, Tobacco Industry Marketing Board’s communications officer, Rhyne  Chikuni confirmed the commencement of the selling season.

“The start of the 2023 tobacco marketing season on Wednesday 8 March 2023. The brief ceremony will be held at Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) at 07.45 am,” he said.

This year’s season opened much earlier compared to last year when the selling season kicked off on March 30 and closed on October 21.

The TIMB Board Chairman has since revealed that the early kick off of this year’s season has been necessitated by the plans to wrap up trading earlier due to general elections set to be held later in the year.

The crop is a major foreign currency earner for the economy and market anticipation is that this year the country will generate much more.

The season coincides with government policy banning the crop’s side marketing as enunciated under Statutory Instrument 77 of 2022.

Although the auctions sell only around 5%  of the crop, they are the major price setter and must thus occur first.

This year, TIMB has licensed the Premier Tobacco Auction Floor and the Boka Tobacco Floors to auction tobacco this season.

An exciting development confirmed by authorities ahead of the season’s commencement is that tobacco growers will receive 85% of their earnings in US$ this year, up from 75% stipulated  last year.

The remainder will be distributed in local currency. About 160,000 farmers grow tobacco in Zimbabwe, which is then exported to 60 countries.