This is about seven million kilogrammes more than the 31 million kg worth US$94,7 million sold during the same period last year.
According to the latest statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, 511 306 bales have been laid so far. Of these 471 129 went under the hammer while 40 177 were rejected.
“During the same period last year a total of 442 805 bales were laid, with 405 616 sold and 37 189 rejected,” said the TIMB.
Of the 38 million kg, 21,8 million kg valued at US$69,4 million were sold under contract and the remainder of 16,1 million kg worth US$42,8 million was sold under individual sales.
Under individual sales, the Tobacco Sales Floor, which has been operating since the season began, sold 13,8 million kg for US$36,8 million.
Boka Tobacco Auction Floors, which opened late last month, has so far handled the sale of 2,3 million kg worth US$6 million while Millennium Tobacco, which started operating last week, has so far sold 535 386 kg valued at US$1,4 million.
The fact that only TSF had been the sole tobacco floor operating since the beginning of the season had congested the floors.
Last week, the TIMB ordered that all tobacco already in the long queues be cleared.
Business has since resumed at all floors, although long queues are resurfacing.
Yesterday, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made urged TIMB to speedily resolve the issue of farmers coming to the floors and spending days on end waiting for service.
“There is need for the opening of two or three more floors here in Harare,” said the minister. “Those with the capacity to do so should apply for licences. The number of sales per day should also be increased.
“TIMB should also engage another buyer at newly opened Millennium Tobacco Floors to add impetus to the buying process as more farmers are coming with their produce.”
He added Zimbabwe must capitalise on the current production challenges in countries such as Brazil and China and produce more volumes to satisfy a growing market.
“We also need to get our figures right – TIMB and Agritex did not get it right in their estimates this year as there was some carryover tobacco from last year that is now coming into the market,” he said.
“In fact, AMA, Agritex and TIMB should go on the ground to make accurate assessments of the crop before making their yield estimates.
Minister Made said he had been reliably informed that tobacco volumes would soon expand as more new players were coming in.
“Matabeleland North and South pro-vinces are reported to have expressed interest in tobacco, which also makes it necessary for more farmer tobacco-related training to be undertaken.
“Tobacco is also good when used in rotation with grain crops as the residual nitrogen it leaves in the soil can still be utilised by the next crop,” he said,
Minister Made also challenged farmers to destroy tobacco stalks immediately after harvest, to help disrupt disease cycles.
“Tobacco is currently the most sought-after crop on the global market. So let’s make hay while the sun shines.”