Harare – The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) says the 2015 marketing season will begin on March 4 this year at auction floors, while contract sales commence the following day.
The tobacco marketing season, which traditionally opens mid-February, was delayed as the crop was still at different vegetative stages.
The TIMB said three auction floors, namely the Tobacco Sales Floor, Boka Tobacco Auction Floor and Premier Tobacco Auction Floors had been licensed to conduct sales this season.
“Sales bookings will open on Wednesday 18th February 2015 and deliveries accepted as from Wednesday 25th February 2015,” the TIMB said.
Since the country adopted multiple foreign currencies, the tobacco industry has experienced rapid growth as many farmers have shifted from other crops to the “golden leaf” due to the orderly marketing and favorable prices it attracts.
The growth and viability of the tobacco industry has in turn inspired the local financial services sector to increase its support towards production of the crop.
The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe says local financial institutions have extended to tobacco farmers about 58 percent, of the cumulative loans extended to the agriculture sector during the 2014—2015 season, which translates to about $600 million.
In the 2015 National Budget, the government projected that 90 000 hectares would be put under tobacco, with output projected at 220 million kg.
Last year, flue-cured tobacco output amounted to 216 million kg, compared to 165, 85 million kg in 2013.
An oversupply of tobacco on the international market is expected this year and this may affect prices on the local market.