tobacco selling 2011.jpgAt least 2 500 bales have gone under the hammer since the beginning of the 2011 tobacco selling season this Wednesday.

There has been a slump in the prices of the golden leaf with the highest quality fetching US$4.25 per kilogramme, a decline of 4 cents from the US$4.29 per kilogramme that was recorded on the first day.

The second day of trading attracted some prospective Chinese investors who indicated interest in buying and processing tobacco in the country.
The Chinese investors told ZBC News that they were impressed by the quality of the Zimbabwean golden leaf being produced by resettled farmers since the inception of the land reform programme spearheaded by the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe.

“The quality of the tobacco we saw this Wednesday is very good. We are here to explore areas where we can work together with Zimbabwe in the processing of tobacco,” said one Chinese investor.

Amongst the farmers present at the floors were Retired Army General Solomon Mujuru and Cde Tendai Savanhu.

General Mujuru noted that while there is optimism from farmers that the prices will go up considering that the first deliveries are priming, there is however concern that some merchants might want to sabotage the land reform programme by deliberately reducing prices of the golden leaf.

Tobacco Sales Floor Managing Director, Mr. James Mutambanesango said preference will be given to farmers who book their tobacco in advance, adding that those who delay may face difficulties in selling their crop.

As usual the second day of auctioning was characterised by clashes as some farmers withdrew their crop, citing irregularities on the part of merchants.

The auction floors were officially opened by Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Dr Joseph Made, who called for a mutually beneficiary trade between farmers and merchants as the country expects to receive over 170 million kilogrammes of tobacco this season.