Harare – In line with disappointment regards unfavourable payment mechanics at the auction floors, the golden leaf 2019 marketing season is lagging behind both in terms of value sold and volumes delivered compared to the same period last year.
According to data released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), shows that tobacco sales in 49 sessions since the beginning of the selling season now sit at 142.48 million kgs which is 15 percent below the same period last year recorded at 167.22 million.
Likewise, the value of tobacco sold over the review period at $261.23 million compares 46 percent below same period last year which was recorded at $484.77 million.
At an average price of $1.83/kg, it represents a difference of 36.2 percent below last year sold at an average price of $2.87/kg.
In addition to unfavourable payments which caused chaos especially during the start of the season, a combination of lower yields and poor leaf quality affected by poor rainfall in the prior season have also contributed immensely to the poor performance recorded thus far.
Tobacco is one of the country’s major foreign currency earners and the government has earmarked the agriculture industry along with the mining and tourism sectors as the key drivers towards achieving the vision of transforming the country into a middle-income economy by 2030.
Last year, the country earned $892 million from 184.1 million kg exported to different parts of the world. In Zimbabwe tobacco is sold between March and August, while exports take up to December per calendar year.
According to Equity Axis’ analyst projections, “sales from the current season are expected to lag that of last year by at least a double digit margin owing to lower yields and poor leaf quality.”
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