By Alois Vinga
TOBACCO deliveries auction floors on the second day of trading was 46% lower compared to last year amid indications that overall output this year will be as much lower than the previous season’s.
Statistics from the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board show that a total 1,043 million kgs were sold on the second day far much below the 1 945 million kgs sold on a similar day last year reflecting a -46,3% change.
The total value of the golden leaf sold on the second day was worth US$2,7 million which was below the US$4,6 million mark recorded last year to produce a -42,02% change.
The average price on the second day however hovered at US$2,62 being 9,97% higher that the US$2,38 recorded last year.
Exactly 3,57% of the bales were rejected compared to 2,47% recorded last year.
The number of total bales sold on the day was 13 997 down from 27 412 bales sold on the same day last year to represent a -48, 94%.
The highest price reached US$6,50 per kilogram higher than the US$6,30 recorded on the same day last year with the lowest price of the day was US$0, 80 compared US$0,35.
TIMB has since revealed that this year’s volumes will be much lower expected to range decline by a margin of between 10% and 15% below prior year.
“The country experienced a late onset of the rainy season which negatively impacted the uptake of agricultural inputs. Whilst a good rainy season had been forecast, the outturn was erratic, with some parts of the country being negatively impacted by the passage of the Tropical Storm Ana weather system,” TIMB said in an earlier warning.
This year’s season coincides with the Tobacco Transformation Plan (TTP) under which the government intends to build a US$5 billion industry by 2025.
The plan was approved last year in a bid to increase production to 300 million kg annually of good quality styles desired by the international market, increase productivity to 2000kg/ha.
The initiative will be rolled out through a vertical growth and loss reduction, to increase value addition and beneficiation to 30% of the crop by 2025 from the current 2% and to localise the financing of tobacco by injecting seed funds of at least US$ 60 million.