tobacco selling 2011.jpgTobacco prices are firming at the country’s floors with growers who had been withholding their crop expressing satisfaction that if the trend continues, deliveries are set to increase.

On the back of a price slump that saw tobacco fetching as low as US$0,80 per kilogramme, a visit to the auction floors showed a different story as the week opened with prices as high as US$4,80 per kilogramme.

Tobacco farmers who spoke to ZBC News expressed joy at the prices they are getting.

“The prices are now reasonable and I hope this trend continues in order to enable the farming business to remain viable,” said one farmer.

Boka Tobacco Floors CEO, Ms Rudo Boka noted that the quality of tobacco being received at the auction floors has also vastly improved.

She however urged farmers to ensure proper grading of their crop.

“We have seen the quality of tobacco improving and because of that, we are bound to see prices continue firming at the floors. We also urge our farmers to ensure that they grade their tobacco properly,” she said.

Initial predictions were that more than 170 million kilogrammes of tobacco was going to go under the hammer this season.

Increased deliveries have seen market reports estimating that deliveries are likely to surge above 200 million kilogrammes.

Currently, more than 90 million kilogrammes of flue cured tobacco worth around US$239 million have gone under the hammer since the opening of the auction floors this season representing a 38,14 increase in total sales.

The latest figures released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) shows that 47 million kilogrammes worth around US$140 million have been sold under contract farming.

The auction system accounts for 43 million kilogrammes valued at around US$99 million.

However, the seasonal average price of the golden leaf pegged at US$2,65  remains low as compared to the same period last year when the seasonal average price was pegged at $3,05.

By the end of last week, a total of 1,110 million bales had been sold out of the 1,193million bales, with 83 000 being rejected.

On Friday last week, a total of 1,5 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf were delivered at the floors with the average price of contract tobacco pegged at US$3, while the average price at the auction floors was pegged at US$2, 28.

The figures also show that by last week, a total of 43,8 million kilogrammes worth US$225,8 million had been exported to various destinations at an average price of US$5,15.