The upward trend on the interbank market, which recorded over 50 percent increase, has brought stability to tobacco marketing as most farmers who are delivering their quality leaf are fetching high prices of between US$3.50 and US$5.

A tobacco marketing expert, Andrew Mupfawa attributed the high price to high demand by merchants and quality leaf being delivered by farmers who have graduated to become professional growers.

“Good agronomic practices and vigorous demands by merchants, who are all now offering good price, have seen farmers smiling to the banks. This is the right time where all farmers should intensify deliveries and take advantage of the price and the interbank rate which shot up to RTGS$5.7 from the initial RTGS$2.5,” said Mupfawa.

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said the marketing season is still on and deliveries have significantly improved as compared to the beginning of the season.

“We encourage farmers to continue delivering, we will notify them when the season will round up, the prices have firmed with the average price continuing to rise. This has turned out to be a favourable season for our growers,” said TIMB spokesperson, Isheunesu Moyo.

Farmers expressed delight in the current rate that allowed them to sell their produce at good prices, encouraging other tobacco farmers to diligently grade their quality leaf.

“All my bales were bought with good prices, ranging between US$3.50 and US$5, which is good news for my family, although one of them [bales] was downgraded from US$4.25 to US$2.25 as it contained mixed leaves. This is a lesson that we should grade our produce correctly to avoid this,” said one farmer from Guruve.

Latest statistics by the TIMB show that over 157 000 tonnes of the golden leaf have gone under the hammer, earning the country about US$300 million in foreign currency.