Wednesday, June 11, 2014

(STICKY) (NEWZIMBABWE) Tobacco exceeds targets, sales near $600m
10/06/2014 00:00:00
by The Source

ZIMBABWE’S tobacco output for the 2014 season on Monday reached 185 million kilogrammes, surpassing the season target by 5 million kg, latest figures show.

The sector continues to recover as resettled small-scale farmers find their feet, but output is still shy of the all-time high of 236 million kg achieved in 2000 before the onset of land reforms. Output plunged to a record low of 48 million in 2008.

Tobacco is a major foreign currency earner for Zimbabwe. Last year, the country sold 167 million kg of tobacco.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) statistics show that by Monday, day 74 of auctions, 185 million kg had gone under the hammer, up from 140 million kg sold during the same period last year. The selling season normally spans 90 days.

Revenues amounting to $587 million have been generated compared to $520 million in 2013. Total sales amounted to $577 million last year.

The price, at which the leaf has been sold since opening of floors in February, has declined 14 percent to average $3.17 per kg from last year’s $3.70.

The government has said a jump in production was anticipated following a 29 percent increase to 91,278 in the number of farmers involved in the production of the crop this season, with 90,000 hectares put under the crop.

Zimbabwe has three tobacco auction floors while six contractors have also been licensed to buy the crop this season.

Major exports markets for Zimbabwean tobacco include China, Belgium, Philippines, United Kingdom and Spain.

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12 Comments:

At 12:13 AM , Blogger MrK said...

(HERALD ZW) Curtain comes down on 2014 tobacco selling season
June 20, 2014
Agriculture Reporter

The 2014 flue-cured tobacco selling season at the three auction floors will close next week, earlier than the previous seasons, with deliveries expected to surpass 200 million kilogrammes.

Auctioning at the contract floors would continue for some weeks because of the high deliveries still being recorded there.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chief executive Dr Andrew Matibiri said the season had been fast.

“The flue-cured tobacco marketing season will close on Friday June 27 with final deliveries accepted on Thursday 26 June,” he said. “All growers who sell on auction floors are therefore advised to complete their grading and baling operations by Wednesday 25 June at the very latest.

“Most farmers have delivered their crop for sale and we are confident that the tobacco deliveries will surpass 200 million kg.”

The flue-cured auction tobacco clean-up sale would be held on July 15.

Statistics from the TIMB show that 194 million kg of flue-cured tobacco worth US$619 million has been sold since the selling season opened in February.

This is an increase of 32 percent from the 147 million kg of the golden leaf worth US$543 million sold over the same period last year.

Last season, 166 million kg of tobacco were sold, with 48 million kg coming from contract farmers, while independent farmers accounted for the remainder.

Many farmers were forced to sell their crop to contractors this season after it emerged they were offering higher prices compared to the auction floors.

The highest price at the auction floors remained at US$4,99 per kilogramme for the fourth consecutive year.

At the contract farming floors, the highest price was US$6,15 per kg this season, prompting farmers to complain over the price disparities.

 
At 1:03 PM , Blogger MrK said...

(NEWZIMBABWE) Tobacco sales near to 2001 peak, generate US$600m
28/06/2014 00:00:00
by Agencies

TOBACCO sales reached 190 million kg, which surpassed this year’s target of 180 million kg, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) announced Thursday.

Both auction and contract sales fetched a total of US$604.7 million.

Although auction marketing is set to end soon, contract sales however, would continue until further notice, TIMB added.

In 2013, a total of 166 million kgs of tobacco worth US$616 million were sold.

TIMB chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri hoped the remaining crop to be sold under the contract system would push production figures for 2014 to 200 million kg.

If met, the target would be slightly lower than the country’s peak production of 231 million kg in 2001.

Tobacco has been on a rebound since 2008, with more farmers turning to the lucrative crop which ranks among one of the largest foreign currency earners for Zimbabwe.

The cash crop is actually the country’s largest foreign currency earner in the agriculture sector and China has been the largest buyer of Zimbabwean tobacco over the last few years.

 
At 4:39 PM , Blogger MrK said...

(HERALD ZW) Tobacco farmers pocket $650m
July 2, 2014
George Chisoko Senior Assistant Editor

TOBACCO growers this year pocketed US$650 million from the sale of 200 million kg (200,000,000 kg = 440,924,524 lbs) of the crop that has gained popularity countrywide.

Unlike in the past when much of the crop was produced by white former commercial farmers, this year’s output came from 106 439 growers registered by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board.

During the year under review, nearly 33 million kg (33,000,000 kg = 72,752,547 lbs) of tobacco was exported to countries across the world, earning the fiscus US$142 million.

As at the end of last month, farmers had sold 204 million kg (204,000,000 kg = 449,743,015 lbs) of tobacco, earning US$647 million, which went directly into their pockets.

The crop volume and earnings should increase by the time mop-up sales close this month.

The boom in tobacco earnings and the expected bumper maize crop harvest bode well for Zim-Asset — the country’s economic blueprint — whose food security and nutrition cluster identifies agricultural productivity as a major pillar of economic revival.

Farmers last season produced 153 million kg (153,000,000 kg = 337,307,261 lbs) and pocketed US$566 million.

What the communal, small-scale and commercial farmers produced this season falls short by only 37 million kg (37,000,000 kg = 81,571,037 lbs) of the record crop that the white former commercial farmers produced in 2000 when they dominated the commercial farming landscape.

In less than 14 years after land reform, tobacco farmers have managed to hit the 200 million kg (200,000,000 kg = 440,924,524 lbs) mark, which the white former commercial farmers achieved over decades when they produced 236 million kg (236,000,000 kg = 520,290,939 lbs) in 2000.

The Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Joseph Made last night said: “We have been vindicated as a country. Our detractors thought we would fail to work on the land and that crop production would fall to embarrassing levels. We are indeed endowed as a country from a human resources point of view and have shown to the world that we are a determined people.

“We need to congratulate the farmers, the TIMB and the research board (TRB) for single-handedly producing the crop that has given us great pride.’’

In 2008, tobacco production tumbled to 49 million kg (49,000,000 kg = 108,026,508 lbs) as farmers struggled in an operating environment riddled with sanctions and drying up of funding from banks that had for years assisted white former commercial farmers.

The determination in the farmers to rebound the tobacco sector and push the volumes to three digit figures, saw them working with the TRB, TIMB and contractors to register gradual increases in production over the years.

 
At 4:39 PM , Blogger MrK said...

Continued...


“The production that our farmers have achieved has broken the myth that our people did not have the farming skills to grow tobacco and that they needed to be commanded by whites. We have shown that we can grow the complicated crop on our own, drawing advice and knowledge from our research and extension teams. There is no doubt that production will reach 210 million kg (210,000,000 kg = 462,970,751 lbs) or more by the time the mop-up sales close,’’ Minister Made said.

The output could have been much more than 204 million kg (204,000,000 kg = 449,743,015 lbs) had farmers been more meticulous in handling the crop.

The poor curing infrastructure, coupled with power losses resulted in the loss of a substantial volume of tobacco.

“We must bear in mind the fact that our farmers produce with little or no irrgation at all yet white farmers produced under 100 percent irrigation. Imagine what would happen to production if all our farmers; communal, small-scale, A1 and A2 would produce under full irrigation; there is no doubt that we would reach 300 million kg (300,000,000 kg = 661,386,787 lbs) or more in tobacco output,’’ Minister Made said.

It was the wish of President Mugabe, Minister Made said, to see the success scored in the tobacco sector being replicated across all crops and the livestock sector.

It is instructive to note that while some parts of the world seemed united in their opposition to the land reform programme almost all the countries in the world bought Zimbabwe’s tobacco.

Zimbabwe National Farmers Union president Mr Garikayi Msika said it needed no economist or rocket scientist to know that given the right operating economic environment “our farmers can never fail the nation when it comes to crop production.’’

“What the farmers have achieved in less than 14 years speaks for itself in terms of their determination to succeed. They have been operating in an adverse economy. They are poorly mechanised and poorly funded yet they are able to rebound the tobacco crop to such commendable levels,’’ he said.

 
At 4:49 PM , Blogger MrK said...

According to the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association:

The History Of Flue Cured Tobacco

PRODUCTION TRENDS 2001 – 2008
The period was largely dominated by the land reform programme.

Large-scale farms were sub-divided and land allocated to indigenous farmers.

This rapidly increased the number of growers thereby increasing the potential tobacco production base After three successive drought seasons followed by one characterized by excessive rain during its latter half, annual production started to increase, spurred on by de-regulations.

 
At 2:24 AM , Blogger MrK said...

(HERALD ZW) Tobacco farmers reject deforestation charge
12/07/2014 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

NEWLY resettled tobacco farmers have rejected as nonsense charges by some environmentalists that they are contributing to massive deforestation in some parts of the country.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Tobacco Growers Association meeting held in Harare last week, the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union director, Edward Tome, said newly resettled farmers were in fact practising better farming methods to fight deforestation than their predecessors.

Tome said tobacco farmers were planting trees each tobacco farming season in a programme he said is called Responsible Tobacco Production (RTP).

“We now have what is called the Southern Africa Deforestation Initiative where we are working hand-in-hand with the tobacco industry to provide seedlings of quick growing trees to tobacco farmers at no cost for planting and they are actually looking for more land to plant more trees,” said Tome.

“And all the contracting tobacco companies are now required to provide the quick growing trees to all their farmers at the maximum of 100 trees per hectare every year.

“We also work with the Forestry Commission where these seedlings are heavily subsidised. This has not started now because some environmentalists are raising the issue but we have been doing it for years,” he said.

Guy Mutasa, the president of the Tobacco National Farmers Union, said some contractors were also supplying farmers with coal which is being used in rocket barns.

“Rocket barns do not use any firewood except coal alone and these come included in a package with fertilisers and chemicals and this has cut on the deforestation,” he said.

“These people are criticising farmers now yet they are the same people who were also destroying forests when they were developing whatever they wanted in the past.

“We are also working with a local university to introduce biogas and solar tobacco curing barns and we hope very soon this will come into effect. This will also help us to produce better quality tobacco that will compete on the world market.

Mutasa said instead of making noise in their air-conditioned offices the environmentalists should come out in the field and see what is happening on the ground.

Since the land reform programme by the Zanu PF government and the low maize producer prices many newly resettled farmers have resorted to tobacco farming as it fetches more on the market.

This year, a kilogram of tobacco was selling for $4.85.

 
At 12:43 AM , Blogger MrK said...

(NEWZIMBABWE) Tobacco sales drive money supply: RBZ
19/07/2014 00:00:00
by The Source

ZIMBABWE’S broad money supply rose 2.25 percent to $4.3 billion between April and May driven by tobacco sales, figures released by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on Friday show.

The tobacco selling season closed in June with sales having topped $600 million.

“Broad money registered a monthly increase of 2.25 percent between April and May 2014,” the central bank said.

“Expansions were registered in all deposit classes with savings deposits recording the highest annual growth of 12.5 percent. The growth in money supply continued to be driven by tobacco sales.”

The central bank said deposits held by banks were largely driven by local authorities, which accounted for 25.78 percent, followed by financial organisations at 20.08 percent, individuals at 14.60 percent and the distribution sector ay 8.93 percent.
The RBZ said credit to the private sector fell by 0.1 percent to $2.7 billion on a month-on-month basis.

“The slowdown reflects constrained lending by banks on the back of attendant liquidity challenges, as well as risk aversion occasioned by increasing non-performing loans,” the central bank said.

Credit to the private sector remained short term as a result of the liquidity constraints, with companies using the funds mainly for recurrent expenditure, inventory and stock build up, consumer durables and capital expenditure, the RBZ said.

The bank said the agriculture sector, households, distribution and manufacturing sectors accounted for the bulk of outstanding loans and advances.

Turning to payment systems, mobile and internet-based transactions recorded the highest increase in the period at 19 percent, with total transaction amounting to $429 million.

Card systems were up 5.2 percent to $399 million while the value of cheque transactions marginally increased to $10.9 million in May from $9.66 million the previous month.

The value of real gross time settlement transactions however slumped seven percent to $3.2 billion although the volume of transactions increased nine percent to 200 146.

 
At 3:08 AM , Blogger MrK said...

In a bitter twist of irony, land reform comes to Scotland. Ben Freeth's House of Lords uncle must be shaking.

(DAILY TELEGRAPH) Land Reform Bill announced by Scottish Government

Legislation designed to shake up land ownership in Scotland to be introduced before the parliament ends in 2016
Scottish countryside Photo: ALAMY
By Ben Riley-Smith, Scottish Political Reporter
12:01AM BST 07 Jun 2014

Dramatic reform of Scottish land ownership is a step closer today after the SNP Government announced it will legislate on the issue.

Paul Wheelhouse, the environment and climate change minister, will reveal plans for a Land Reform Bill for Scotland during a speech in Skye.

The legislation will be put to Holyrood before the current parliament ends in 2016 and could be voted on as early as next year.

Mr Wheelhouse said the Bill would be a "significant step forward" in ensuring land is used "in the public interest and to the benefit of the people of Scotland".

But critics said the SNP Government's "incessant attempts to demonise private landowners" had been "very disappointing".

While the contents of the legislation are yet to be decided, recent recommendations from a government-commissioned Land Reform Review Group will play a central part.

Among the more radical of the group's 62 suggestions was an upper limit on the amount of land held by private owners in Scotland.

It also suggested introducing a land value tax, replacing council tax, which would force people with large land holdings to pay more, potentially by tens of thousands of pounds.

The report angered interest groups who said it undervalued the positive benefit many private land holders bring to Scotland's countryside.

Mr Wheelhouse is expected tell delegates at the Community Land Scotland conference in Skye this morning that the Bill will "take forward the direction of travel" laid out in the review group's report.

 
At 3:09 AM , Blogger MrK said...

Continued...


"The Bill will be another significant step forward in ensuring our land is used in the public interest and to the benefit of the people of Scotland," Mr Wheelhouse will say.

“My vision, and that of my colleagues, for Scotland is for a fairer, wider and more equitable, distribution of land across our nation, where communities and individuals have access to land and the Land Reform Bill will enable much of this to happen."

Mr Wheelhouse announced that the Scottish Land Fund, which helps communities purchase land, will be extended and run until at least 2020.

He also noted that some of the recommendations proposed by the review group have already been acted on.

Registers of Scotland have been asked to complete a comprehensive land register within a decade, with all public land hopefully registered within the first five years.

A working group has also been created to bring about Alex Salmond's pledge for a million acres of land in Scotland to be under local control by 2020.

The Community Empowerment Bill, due to come before Holyrood this month, will also improve the ability of communities to buy land.

The SNP has come under increasing pressure from Labour over land reform, with a House of Commons committee recently suggesting landowners could be stripped of crucial subsidies and tax relief.

Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: "What has been very disappointing recently has been incessant attempts to demonise private landowners and the unwillingness to accept the hard evidence of the positive role our members play."

"This approach was sadly all to plain to see in the final report of the Land Reform Review Group which we believe decided to take a punitive rather than a constructive approach to the issues."

Patrick Harvie MSP, co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said: "Legislation on further land reform is welcome, if long overdue ... Bold measures are needed to update Scotland’s antiquated and horrendously unfair system of land ownership."

 
At 11:28 AM , Blogger MrK said...

The tobacco industry came back, and yet the Rhodesians did not.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-11-03/mugabe-makes-zimbabwe-s-tobacco-farmers-land-grab-winners

(BLOOMBERG) Mugabe Makes Zimbabwe’s Tobacco Farmers Land Grab Winners
Godfrey Marawanyika
4 november 2013 13:41 CET

Bonus Matashu points to a three-ton truck he bought for $15,000 in cash and says President Robert Mugabe’s often violent program of seizing white-owned farms and giving them to black Zimbabweans turned around his life.

“This is the best thing that could have happened to me and my family and the generality of black Zimbabweans,” the former machine operator said at his six-hectare (15-acre) farm near the tobacco-farming town of Karoi, 93 miles north of the capital, Harare. “I now lead a far better life.”

Matashu, 34, was allocated land by the government in 2001 after a white-owned farm was seized and its former owner emigrated to South Africa, he said in an Oct. 18 interview. He grew cotton for a decade before switching to tobacco. This year he earned $34,000 and won an award for being the best small-scale tobacco farmer in Karoi.

During the turbulence of the farm takeovers, tobacco production in what was the second-biggest exporter of the top quality variety of the crop known as flue-cured plunged to 48.3 million kilograms in 2008 from a record 236.7 million kilograms (521.8 million pounds) in 2000, according to the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association. Now it’s making a comeback, with this year’s 166.7 million kilograms earning about $612 million.

Mugabe said he embarked on the land-grab program in 2000 to address the expropriation of land from blacks during the 90 years of white rule that ended after a civil war in 1980. While it helped him win rural votes and retain power, the economy was gripped by a decade of contraction, with plummeting exports of crops ranging from tobacco to roses.

 
At 11:33 AM , Blogger MrK said...

Continued...

Farmers Killed

About 18 white farmers were killed in violent takeovers of their land while almost all of the country’s 620,000 permanent and seasonal farmworkers were driven away from their homes, John Worsley-Worswick , the head of of Justice for Agriculture , a Harare-based lobby group, said in an interview on Oct. 28.

Together with dependents those workers accounted for two million people, he said.

“We tackled the enemy head on and we got the land,” Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said in an interview.

“They will never, never accept that there are now new owners on the land who have done wonders.”

Most of the rest Zimbabwe’s agricultural industry remains in crisis. The rose and horticulture export business, formerly worth $87 million a year, has largely disappeared. Once a corn exporter, Zimbabwe has regularly imported the grain in recent years, buying almost 97,000 tons from South Africa since the beginning of May. That’s the most in a single season since at least the marketing season that ended in April 2010, according to South African Grain Information Service data.

Industry Change

The tobacco industry no longer resembles the pattern of large, white-owned, farms, which have been seized and resettled.

In 2000 the crop was grown by 1,500 large-scale farmers while 5,000 small-scale growers produced 3 percent of the crop. This year 110,000 small-scale farmers grew 65 percent of the crop, according to the government’s Tobacco Industry Marketing Board. While most of the tobacco used to be auctioned most is now grown under contract for leaf merchants. Companies including Universal Corp. and Alliance One International Inc. buy the crop.

More than a fifth of the growers were registered this year , and farmers are being encouraged to grow the crop in the more arid region of Matabeleland, where little tobacco has been produced before.

 
At 11:34 AM , Blogger MrK said...

Continued 2...

“It took the minority more than 50 years to reach 220 million kilograms,” said Lovemore Chikweya, regional coordinator for the TIMB in Nyamandhlovu, 370 kilometers southwest of Harare, in an interview. “With these new farmers that number can and will be surpassed within five years,” he said, forecasting production at 200 million kilograms in 2014.
China Exports

With the violence associated with the land reform program and a series of disputed election resulting in sanctions targeting Mugabe and his allies from the European Union and the U.S., Zimbabwe’s tobacco farmers are now exporting more of their crop to Asia.

“Our exports to China have grown by over 50 percent,” said Rodney Ambrose, chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, in an interview. “We have also established new markets particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia.”

This year Chinese buyers acquired $197 million worth of tobacco while Belgium bought $102 million, according to the TIMB.

Zimbabwean tobacco sold for an average of about $3.67 a kilogram this year, the highest since at least 1990, compared with $3.65 for tobacco produced in Brazil, one of the country’s biggest competitors, according to Ambrose.

“People are seeing that you can grow the crop and it comes in handy because the returns are much higher compared to wheat and cabbages,” Shandu Gumede, a 43-year-old farmer in Matabeleland, said in an interview. “I have no regrets.”

 

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