Farmers have raked in about US$17 million in four weeks since the tobacco auction floors opened in March as the quality of the gold leaf improves while prices stabilised.

Latest statistics by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show that about 10 million kilogrammes of the leaf have gone under the hammer raking in about US$17 million in foreign currency.

Some farmers who fetched top prices of between US$3 per kilogramme to US$4.60 per kg attributed the good returns to proper curing and grading methods that resulted in a quality leaf.

“We have improved in terms of the tobacco that we produce. We are now producing good quality, plus the leaf that we are delivering now is high grade so the prices are fair and good for the farmer to go back to the land,” said one farmer from Dotito.

The prices are expected to surge next week as farmers usually deliver large volumes of tobacco to raise money for independence and Easter holidays.

“The sales continue to improve on a weekly basis, we witnessed good quality tobacco coming, fetching good prices. So as we progress to Easter and independence holidays, prices continue to firm and expectations are high they will surge more next week as the quality of the leaf continue to improve. It’s good for both the farmer and merchants,” said tobacco marketing expert David Machingaidze.

Tobacco floors are usually flooded with farmers as they stampede to sell their crop to earn some cash for Easter holiday, hence the need by the tobacco stakeholder to put in place adequate security measures to avoid chaos.