By Owen Mandovha
It was a busy day at the auction floors as the 2022 tobacco marketing season kicked off this Wednesday, while contract floors are set to open on Thursday.
It is again that time of the year when tobacco farmers look forward to reap the fruits of their sweat after spending hundreds of hours in the field and tobacco barns growing and curing the golden leaf.
The Tobacco Sales Floor in Harare was the focal point as the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka officially opened the 2022 Tobacco Marketing Season.
“Farmers are looking for a decent return on their effort, Contractors look forward to recovering their loan in full and making a decent effort. Banks too are holding their breath looking forward to full repayment of their loans. Government reviewed the foreign currency retention for farmers to 75% up from 60% last year and the funds being treated as free funds,” said Dr Masuka.
Minister Masuka hinted on some unscrupulous activities by rogue players in the sector hell bent on undermining the transformation of the industry for the benefit of farmers and the economy at large.
“Frustration has been reported with some contractors giving farmers inadequate input packs and very late they will eventually want the whole crop. This may lead to undesirable side marketing. Discipline among players is required. The TIMB has an Inspectorate Unit created to eliminate such errant behaviour.”
The best leaf fetched four dollars sixty cents per kilogramme on the opening day, with prices expected to be higher this year on the back of improved quality and high demand of the golden leaf from merchants.