By Alois Xaba
Zimbabwe expect to export 140 million kilograms of tobacco worldwide as it plans to sell the golden leaf at first grade rate worldwide.
Tobacco marketing season opens next week and expectation are that the quality would be high.
The country has four Active auction floors which are Tobacco Sales Floor, Boka Tobacco Auction Floors, Millennium Tobacco Floors and a new player Premier Tobacco Auction Floors.
Tobacco Industry Marketing Board CEO Andrew Matibiri : “In as far as the worldwide situation is concerned, Zimbabwean tobacco is likely to be sold at a premium,”.
“This is due to the fact that countries like Brazil were affected severely by floods four weeks ago and tobacco production will be down by 150 million kg,” he said.
“The American crop was also affected and is down by 50 million kg and these are our main competitors.
“Tanzanian tobacco will remain the same as last year at 80 million kg and India does not produce flue-cured tobacco and is at 120 million kg.”
Matibiri said China produced two billion kg which did not satisfy its market, which would force it to import from Zimbabwe.
“Two years ago, we had an oversupply situation whereby processed tobacco from Brazil and the USA was stocked and had not been moved, but now there is even more demand for tobacco,” he said.
He said Malawi’s production was below 190 million kg and the fact that it did not produce Virginia tobacco made it to compete with Zimbabwe only on the Burley tobacco market.
“We think this year is going to be favourable for tobacco growers,” Matibiri said.
The TIMB chief executive said the 2012 selling season was expected to become a seller’s market as opposed to 2011 which recorded lower price averages of $0,10 per kg due to an estimated tobacco supply deficit of between five to 10 percent on the global market.
Estimates of tobacco output in 2012 are yet to be collected in light of developments in the country’s rainfall patterns which have seen farmers planting tobacco late into the farming season.
The tobacco industry is currently on the recovery line following a decade of decrease which has seen manufacture falling to a low of 48.8 million kg in 2008 from more than 200 million kg in 2000.