Zimbabwe’s 2021 tobacco marketing season kicks off

Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s biggest agricultural export and racked in US$782 million in revenue last year, according to Central Bank data.

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HARARE – The tobacco selling season kicks off in Harare on Wednesday with farmers set to get 60 percent of their earnings in foreign currency and the remaining 40 percent will be paid in local currency using the auction rate.

Farmers were pushing for up to 80 percent foreign currency retention from last year’s 50-50.

Government is targeting deliveries of up to 200 kilogrammes of tobacco to the auction floors this season, up from 184 kilogrammes sold by farmers last season. The golden leaf is Zimbabwe’s biggest agricultural export and racked in US$782 million in revenue last year, according to Central Bank data.

As a precautionary measure against the ongoing global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) issued a no vaccination no buyers licence for all auction floors.

Patrick Devenish, the TIMB chairperson affirmed that “We want to make the tobacco markets a place of safety as far as Covid-19 is concerned.”

Meanwhile, financial services institution, Stanbic Bank, has set up nine remote branches at tobacco auction floors throughout the country to enable ease of access to funds for tobacco farmers during this year’s marketing period.

The implants, as the branches are termed, are geared to serve the banking needs of tobacco farmers countrywide following the decentralisation of tobacco auction floors due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

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