THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) will hold mop-up sales this month after the 2010 tobacco selling season saw a total of 119,8 million kgs of the golden leaf valued at US$347,8 million going under the hammer.
The figure was more than double the 58 million kgs sold last year. This year’s crop was sold at an average price of US$2,90 per kg compared to last year’s US$2,98.
TIMB however said contractors have been allowed to sell until all deliveries were exhausted. “Mop-up sales to dispose of any tobacco remaining on the farms will be held on September 28,” said TIMB.
The rejection rate ended at 8,23% of the total seasonal offerings.
Tobacco deliveries have been declining since 2000 due to a combination of farm invasions, shortage of loans and inputs, bad weather and inexperienced farmers.
In 2000 a total of 236 130 million kgs was produced at a time when the country was the world’s second-largest exporter after Brazil.
Last year, Zimbabwe was ranked behind Brazil, India, the US, Argentina and Tanzania, according to Universal, the world’s biggest tobacco leaf merchant.
In 2001 — a total of 202 540 million kgs was produced, 2002 — (165 842 million kgs), 2003 — (81 812 million kgs), 2004 — (69 112 million kgs), 2005 – (73 392 million kg).
In 2006, 55, 5 million kg was sold, in 2007 — (73 500 million kgs), 2008 — 35 000 million kg and 56 million kgs in 2009.
Last year tobacco was voted the best paying crop. Government hopes that internally generated sources of funding like tobacco, diamonds and other metal sales will play a critical role in improving market liquidity and stabilising interest rates.