In its latest weekly update, TIMB said 13,39 million kgs of flue-cured tobacco worth US$45,3 million has been sold during 23 days of trade so far.
A total of 19,6 million kgs worth US$56,4 million were sold during the same period last year.
Auction floors are not open daily during working days as was the case last year.
Tobacco is the country’s second largest foreign currency earner after mining. It contributed 26% to the GDP last season and this year it is expected to contribute more.
Seventy-seven million kgs of the golden leaf is expected to be sold this year, up from 42 million kgs last season.
About 45% of this is to be auctioned with the balance being sold under contract. The Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) auction floors have so far handled 3,5 million kgs valued at US$11,68 million. The average price was US$3,33 a kg.
Zimbabwe Tobacco Auction Centre (Zitac) handled 4,18 million kgs valued at US$14 million at an average price of $3,35 a kg.
Zitac usually caters for large-scale tobacco farmers, while TSF mainly accommodates smallholder farmers.
A total of 5,7 million kgs valued at US$19,59 million have been sold under contract farming at an average price of US$3,44 a kg.
TIMB said most of the tobacco being presented is from small-scale producers (A1 and communal area growers).
It said the quality of the crop presented was “very good” despite 11 381 bales out of the 136 843 bales delivered being rejected.
TIMB said the bales were rejected because they were oversized, underweight or overweight and bad handling of the crop resulting in some of the tobacco becoming too wet.
Farmers are expected to get better prices for their crop this year because of an envisaged global shortage stemming from hailstorm damage of tobacco in Brazil.
About 22 000 growers had registered to sell their tobacco this season, which is a reduction from 28 000 that registered last year. The early opening of the season in March is expected to assist farmers repay their loans ahead of time, thus cutting down on interest payments. This will also assist early preparations for the coming season.