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2024 tobacco marketing season to open on 13 March

Story by Peter Chivhima

THE 2024 tobacco marketing season is set to open on the 13th of March amid revelations that most farmers are ready for what promises to be a busy selling season.

The development was confirmed by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) Acting Chief Executive Officer Mr Emmanuel Matsvaire in Harare this Tuesday, where he also revealed that contract tobacco sales will start on the 14th of March.

“We are happy to announce that the 2024 tobacco marketing season will commence on the 13th of March 2024 for Auction floors and 14 March for contract floors. This year we had slight delays due to Elnino,” he said.

Farmers, who spoke to the ZBC News welcomed the development with most of them having cured the golden leaf.

“Yes, it’s quite true that most of our farmers especially those who do irrigation have already harvested and cured their tobacco. So our appeal to the government is to open the floors early so that we can be able to pay those who assisted us on time. Early start can also help in reducing risks such as losing the crop through fire considering that most of our small-scale farmers keep their tobacco bales in kitchens. There also incidences that our farmers end up opting for zvimbadzo,” said the Zimbabwe Tobacco Growers Association chairperson Mr George Seremwe.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union President Dr Shadreck Makombe said, “This a welcome development and this will allow our farmers to plan on time.”

Tobacco Farmers Union Trust President Mr Mariranyika said, “All farmers are excited now because this is the time we have been waiting for as farmers. We also appealing to the RBZ to reveal the retention upwards from 75% probably to 98% so that we cover costs. We are also looking for TIMB and other stakeholders to review the current model of selling and buying tobacco so that our farmers can benefit.”

The 2023 tobacco marketing season raked in a record 294 million kilogrammes, with a focus on the set target of 300 million kilogrammes by 2025.

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