THE government says it is prepared to open tobacco auction floors in February, once farmers are ready to deliver the golden leaf.
The Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Joseph Made told ZBC News that tobacco auction floors are ready to open in February depending on the preparedness of farmers to deliver enough crop to kick start the marketing season.
The move by Government to open auction floors earlier this year has been welcomed by farmers, who indicated that they have intensified harvesting and curing of the golden leaf in readiness for the early opening of the floors.
If the plans by Government are implemented, the early opening of the floors is expected to boost foreign currency inflows, ease liquidity challenges and above all improve cash flows for the farmers.
Tobacco has recently become one of the top foreign exchange earner for the country having racked in $933 million in export receits at the end of 2016. Already Zimbabwe has exported flue-cured tobacco to the value of $3, 7 million during the first week of 2017, latest figures from the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) show.
Eight countries, namely Indonesia, Greece, Korea, Mozambique, Spain, China, Vietnam and Germany have so far purchased a total of 825 808 kilogrammes of locally produced tobacco. — ZBC online/Business Chronicle