Day 47 of the 2023 tobacco marketing season saw farmers’ earnings reach a whopping US$604 million from the sale of 201 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf eclipsing last season’s figure of US$404 million realised from 135 million kilogrammes during the corresponding period by 50 percent with traded volumes recording a 49 percent variance.
The average price for this year is sitting at US$3 per kilogrammes to mark a 0, 29 percent difference with last season’s average price of US$2, 99 per kilogramme.
Contract floors so far lead the race with 186 million kilogrammes of the flue-cured tobacco worth US$559 million sold compared to 16 million kilogrammes of tobacco worth US$44 million traded at the auction floors.
The highest price recorded so far at both floors is US$6, 10 per kilogramme that was scored at the contract floors while the lowest price remains stagnant at US$0, 10 per kilogramme at both floors as well. Last season’s highest price was US$6, 80 per kilogramme and was recorded at the contract floors.
This season, farmers will retain 85 percent of their earnings in hard currency up from last year’s 75 percent. The rest of the earnings will be in local currency pegged at the prevailing interbank exchange rate.
The decision to award farmers 85 percent of their foreign currency earnings was made effective starting February 6, this year.
Tobacco deliveries are estimated to rise to 230 million kilogrammes this year, up from last season’s 212 million kilogrammes.
The projection comes following farmers have planted 112 293 hectares of tobacco down from last season’s 116 454 hectares while the area under the irrigated crop increased by 2 percent from 17 867ha last year to 18 237 hectares this year whilst production on dry land also rose 4 percent from 94 426hectres to 98 273 hectares this time season.