By Davison Vandira
Tobacco has raked in almost half a billion United States Dollars in a season characterised by high prices averaging an unprecedented figure of three United States dollars.
The current tobacco marketing season which is approaching its sunset phase has so far raked in US$495 million, only two million short of last season’s US$497 million.
164 million kilogrammes have since gone under the hammer, with the quality of the golden leaf produced last season having compensated for low output, owing to erratic rainfall patterns last season.
The better quality has been attributed to the rise in average price of the leaf from last year’s US$2.75 to US$3, which has given farmers value for their produce and most importantly viability and sustainability of their farming business.
The progression of the 2022 marketing season has also been constantly supported by the industry regulator, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, which intervened in various ways to weed our side marketing and other nefarious activities within the sector which saw some operators being either fined or suspended for various offences.
However, from an operational point of view, farmers have noted teething challenges that need to be addressed as auction rules are being flouted to their financial detriment.
Under the country’s Agriculture Transformation Agenda, the tobacco industry is eyeing to constantly surpass the 300 million kilogramme mark and with top quality golden leaf an unmistakable feature at auction floors this season, this vision is now in the horizon.