Tobacco mop-up sales extra 4,4 million kgs

AN extra 4,4 million kgs of tobacco was sold during mop-up sales which ended on October 21, figures released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) showed this week.

The selling season officially ended on September 3 with an output of 119 million kgs.
“The extra 4,4 million kg were sold through mop-up sales which were carried out at various selling points up to October 21,” said TIMB.
According to the figures released on Tuesday, a record crop of 123,4 million kgs was sold at the just ended tobacco selling season after the mop-up sales. This year’s production is 110% more than last year’s production of 56 million kgs.
“The increase in tobacco output was attributed to an increase in small scale growers that constituted 80% of the total registered growers,” TIMB said. “Mashonaland West province had the highest production in 2010 marketing season followed by Mashonaland Central. However, about 11 000 small scale (A1 + communal) growers in Mashonaland Central produced more than 16 million kgs, whereas close to 12 000 small scale growers in Mashonaland West produced slightly above 15 million kgs. This means that small scale growers in Mashonaland Central had a better yield.”
TIMB said the number of tobacco growers had increased over the last decade from of  8  500  (average  10  hectares  each)  to  over  51  000  growers  (average 1,3 hectares each), of whom about 42 000 (80%) were small-scale (A1 and communal area) growers.
Virginia tobacco was grown on a total of 67 054 hectares, yielding an average of 1 839 kgs per hectare.
“A better yield has been attained this year as a result of a good rain season which prevailed in 2010 and aided by timeous availability of inputs,” TIMB said.
During the just ended selling season, merchants offered favourable prices at the beginning of the season and later reduced their prices after eight weeks of sales.
When deliveries continued to swell beyond the initial projections of 77 million kgs, prices further dropped from the highest average price of US$3,49/kg to US$2,62/kg recorded at auction floors.
The season ended at an average price of US$2,88/kg, US$10 cents below the 2009 average price. –– Staff Writer.

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