Tobacco prices firm as quality improves – TIMB

Tobacco prices firm as quality improves – TIMB

HARARE, April 15 (The Source) – Tobacco prices have improved in recent days with the trend expected to continue as the selling season gains momentum after a false start to the season that saw farmers protest over poor prices, the industry regulator has said.

Sales opened at $3,50 per kilogramme compared to last year’s $4,85, but prices quickly sunk to 20 cents per kg, leading to farmer protests, calling the rates ‘exploitive’.

There were more protests at Boka Auction Floor on Tuesday morning, but Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chief executive, Andrew Matibiri, told The Source that the prices being offered were rising gradually in line with the quality of the leaf being delivered,  averaging $4,99 per kilogramme at all three auction floors.

“What you will see now is that the prices are beginning to improve because the quality of the crop being delivered by the farmers is getting better,” he said.

When asked to comment on the reported reemergence of Class B buyers – local merchants who usually offer lower prices Matibiri said the board has not licensed any such buyers.

This year the marketing season, which normally starts in mid-February, opened late following delayed rains and late harvesting by farmers.

Zimbabwe projects lower output at around 195 million kg from 216 million kg last year, which earned $684 million.