By Alois Vinga
TOBACCO sales have hit US$100 million within a fortnight from the official opening of the 2021 marketing season indicating almost a 100 % percent increase from figures recorded in the first nine days.
Latest statistics released Thursday show that tobacco sales have now surpassed US$100m, 14 days into the marketing season.
Records show total sales of US$102.95 million up 96.9% from a similar period last year.
Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) updates also show that the latest figures were almost double the statistics released last week when Zimbabwe leaf tobacco sales totalled US$49.9 million after the first nine days of trading, compared to US$24.5 million during the same period in 2020.
The golden leaf farmers had delivered 19.97 million kg during the first nine days, up 83 % over the 10.8 million kg from like 2020.
Average prices are hovering around US$2.50 per kg to date, up from US$2.27 per kg at this point last season.
Meanwhile, farmers’ unions have since expressed displeasure over the decline in leaf prices.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Shadreck Makombe recently told the media that during the first week of the tobacco selling season, prices firmed up and hovered around US$5 to US$6.30 per kg while the direct auction hovered around US$4.99 per kg.
“In the second week, most contractors dropped prices. They are now buying at a discounted price. This is a big blow to most of the farmers who are contracted and are the majority of tobacco growers. They cannot sell elsewhere,” he said.
Before the start of the current season, growers raised concerns on the need to offer good prices in order to enable farmers to cover all their expenses.