Over US$200 million have so far been realised from tobacco sales and expectations are high that the country can hit US$700 million target by the end of this marketing season.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) Spokesperson, Isheunesu Moyo said the US$206 million achieved so far translates to about 26 percent increase in sales as compared to the same period last year.

Of the over US$200 million achieved so far, contract sales account for 80 percent, while 20 percent having been sold at the auction floors.

Meanwhile, farmers have been called upon to comply with the TIMB policy of making bookings first and delivering their tobacco on confirmation by the floors to avoid congestion which is now posing s a health hazard to the auction floors.

Farmers who are delivering their tobacco without booking have been cited as the trouble causers fueling congestion and disorder at the auction floors.

“Investigations show that congestion and disorder, which have become the order of the day at the floors, are being fueled by some farmers who are breaching the tobacco booking policy. There is need for strict enforcement of the TIMB policy which stipulates that any farmer who delivers unbooked tobacco should be penalised, this will bring sanity at the floors, said Mr Mutandwa Mutasa, the Progressive Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe President.

Agriculture marketing expert, David Machingaidze said no farmer would be allowed to deliver tobacco without booking during the time when the industry was strict on bookings and by reverting to this golden rule, sanity will prevail once again at the floors.

“The disorder prevailing at the floors can be rectified if farmers abide by the TIMB policy to book their crop and deliver on golden leaf on scheduled and orderly manner. So I would advise farmers to confirm their booking first before delivering their crop to avoid inconveniences,” Machingaidze noted.

The past weeks have seen long queues of trucks delivering tobacco, while hundreds of farmers have been spending several days sleeping at the floors waiting to book their golden leaf for sale.