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July 30, 2019

Zimbabwe: 2019 Tobacco Seed Sales Drop 55%

Tobacco seed sales have plummeted 55,2% as Zimbabwean farmers grapple with viability challenges ahead of the 2019/2020 season.

As of July 22, 2019 only 320 kilogrammes had been bought by farmers against 715 kilogrammes purchased during the same period last year.

These seedbeds should have been planted in June, but many growers were not in a good enough financial position to start the process. So, more bad news might be on the way We sincerely hope seed sales and farmers crop preparations improve in the next month,” Zimbabwe Tobacco Association chief executive Rodney Ambrose said.

While farmers were entitled to 50% retention of foreign currency ... the process of withdrawing the hard currency was poorly communicated to them and as a result they resorted to the less valued local currency.

The 50% hard currency tobacco retention is an important income in making tobacco farming viable and re-tooling for the next season.

Poor prices have also posed serious viability challenges for the over 200 000 farmers who grew the crop this season.

Tobacco selling, which commenced in March, is heading towards the end with deliveries now at one million kilogrammes per day from 10 million at the peak of the season in June.

The tobacco crop is a top forex earner and plays a key role in funding the importation of key commodities into the country.

While the season was affected by poor weather, at least 235 million kilogrammes has been delivered so far surpassing the target of 220 million kilogrammes. However, it is well below last year’s output of 253 million kilogrammes, which earned the country about US$1 billion.

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