Story by Tendai Munengwa
THE 2023 tobacco marketing season is set to open early after recommendations by stakeholders that farmers are ready to deliver the golden leaf starting next month.
Following the good rains being received countrywide, a crop assessment by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) shows that most farmers with the early planted crop have started processing their golden leaf in readiness for the opening of the marketing season.
Acting TIMB chief executive officer Mr Emmanuel Matsvaire told the ZBC News that tobacco auction floors are likely to open at the end of February or in early March to accommodate the bulk of the early planted tobacco.
“Owing to a good rain season, we will have an early marketing season as some farmers have already finished processing their crops.
“Recommendations by the stakeholders proposed end of Feb and early March for opening the floors as the bulk of tobacco will be ready for delivery,” he said.
The TIMB reveals that companies will be issued with licences to buy the golden leaf by the end of this month.
“The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board will sit by end of this month to deliberate on who will be issued with buying licenses, so all prospective buyers will be informed after that meeting.”
This year, the country is targeting 230 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf, with independent market watchers anticipating that farmers will break the 250 million kilogrammes achieved in 2017 due to the good rainfall patterns this year.