Small-holder tobacco farmers account for 60% of deliveries

By ZBC Reporter
ZIMBABWE’s small-holder tobacco farmers have emerged as the biggest beneficiaries of the auction floor decentralisation after accounting for 65 percent of deliveries so far with this year’s marketing season coming to a close.
Decentralisation resulted in the establishment of auction floors in strategic areas across the country.
The thrust was focused towards mitigating the threats of the Covid- 19 on the tobacco industry by maintaining social distancing, regulating accommodation and the days in which farmers sell their tobacco.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board ( TIMB) chairperson Mr Pat Davenish said the auction floors are provisionally expected to close on 20 August and it is noticeable that decentralisaton created favourable tobbacco selling conditions
“We are grateful to the decentralisation plan which to some extent has created that aspect or platform for better returns to the growers,” he said.
The TIMB data shows that prices for the commodity have increased by 29,34 percent to US$2,48 per kilograms from US$1,91 per kg last season.
Despite the 19 percent drop in deliveries this season, earnings have however increased to US$406 million from US$389 million last year.
This marketing season was different from previous years that were associated with large crowds of farmers, their family members, stakeholders in the industry, vendors and businesspeople, among others.
The number of people at the floors was minimised to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Not all growers were allowed to attend sales. Growers with less than 100 bales per sale were not allowed to attend the sales and nominated a TIMB-registered grower representative.
Nominated TIMB-registered grower representatives at the floors would make decisions on behalf of the absent growers.