40 000 bales of flue cured tobacco have so far been sold at the countryâ€™s auction floors compared to last yearâ€™s 26 000 bales of the crop sold during the same period, translating to a 60% increase.To date 3.3 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf have gone under the hammer of which 2.3 million kilogrammes was sold through contract, while 958 000 kilogrammes traded under the normal auction system.
The average price of US$2.83 per kilogramme of tobacco is however 18% lower than an average of US$3.36 paid out by day seven of the season last year, according to Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board sales statistics.
Tobacco Sales Floor Managing Director, Mr. James Mutambanesango said prices should generally improve as the season progresses since farmers are delivering lower plant leaves which are of inferior quality than upper leaf levels.
Despite slow trading since the 4th day of the marketing season to date, TSF is acting tough on unregistered growers who had not submitted estimates to the TIMB and farmers could be seen queuing to register before being permitted to sell their product.
The opening of a separate trading floor for contracted growers by Chinese firm, Tian Ze, has also eased congestion at the TSF where the company used to trade.
The expansion of services by the Chinese import firm is likely to enhance competition among the countryâ€™s sales floors and the contractor which should improve prices for growers.
Meanwhile, renovations are still ongoing at Boka auction floors which is expected to be opened at a date to be announced by the TIMB.