By Ndafadza Madanha
THE country’s largest auctioneer of independent tobacco crop TSL is confident that this season harvest of the golden leaf will be at par with last year’s record setting 248 million kgs.
Patrick Devenish CEO of TSL which operates the Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) said the output will largely be dependent on the national rainfall patterns in the second of half of the season.
According to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) as at 15th August 2018, cumulative tobacco output amounted to 248.2 million kilograms, which is 35% higher than what was sold during the same period in 2017. The 2018 output raked in a total of US$725.9 million, which is 30% higher than the US$547 million realized in 2017.
“A large national crop is expected in 2019 at similar levels to those in 2018, the final output will, however, depend on the rainfall patterns in the second half of the farming season. Average Prices will be within the US$3 per kg range”.
Zimbabwe is experiencing an El Nino phenomenon which is predicated to induce a drought adversely affecting cash crops such as tobacco.
He said the group had invested heavily in its tobacco related services through re-engineering and upgrading its business processes, accessibility and facilitates. Emphasis will remain on growing its share of the independent and contracted crop.
Devenish said TSL has adopted a new 5 year strategy themed “move to agriculture” whose focus is to bring efficiencies to Zimbabwean agricultural supply chains. The strategy will entail working closely producers and processors of agro commodities to ensure they can get the requisite inputs.
Further generation of foreign currency will be a priority for the group and it will seek to grow export crops.
TSL farming operations will remain largely unchanged being tobacco, soyas, wheat, commercial maize and bananas.
Meanwhile Agricura a division of TSL has invested in new machinery to automate the powder chemicals production factory with more equipment and machinery expected during the course of the year. ENDS