Tobacco deliveries to the countryâ€™s auction floors have significantly declined in recent weeks indicating that the industry may fail to reach the projected 170 million kilogramme target.Activity at the countryâ€™s tobacco auction floors has been subdued, with tobacco sales now averaging about 600 bales per day in contrast to an average of about 4000 bales which used to be traded per day at the peak of the season.
A visit by ZBC News to the countryâ€™s three auction floors showed that by 11 a.m. this Monday morning, sales for the day had already been concluded.
Millennium Tobacco Floors Marketing Director, Miss. Kudzai Hamadziripi said sales at the floors are now ranging between 400 and 500 bales per day, highlighting that it is normal for deliveries to decline during the 5th month of the season.
â€œWe are now in the 5th month and the tobacco marketing season is normally 6 months, so it is quite normal for sales to decline,â€ said Miss. Hamadziripi.
Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe President, Mr. David Mutasa said most small scale farmers have already sold their crop and indications were that the season is drawing to a close.
â€œI donâ€™t think we are going to meet the 170 million target projected by the TIMB simply because deliveries have dropped,â€ Mr. Mutasa said.
Statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board show that by day 102 of the selling season, 125 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf had been sold under both the contract and the auction system, fetching US$342 million.
Players in the industry however say deliveries usually increase when the TIMB announces the closing date of the selling season.