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Tobacco earnings hit $79 million

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The country’s green gold, tobacco, has earned $78.9 million, since the tobacco marketing season opened six weeks ago.

According to AHL Group statistics, the country has sold 49,739,858 kilogrammes (kg) of tobacco, at an average price of $1.59 per kg.

Commenting on the sales, AHL Group Corporate Affairs Manager, Mark Ndipita, said even though some of the tobacco is being rejected, the levels are not alarming.

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He said the rejection rate is recorded at 23 percent.

“If you compare the average prices for 2017 and now, this year the prices are a bit lower but we have seen that each and every week the prices are picking up. The pickup in prices indicates the quality tobacco that is being brought to the floors and we are positive that the trend will continue,” Ndipita said.

However, tobacco farmers have expressed worry over the rejection rate and poor prices being offered by buyers.

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Growers who spoke to The Daily Times following a visit to Kanengo Auction floors indicate that prices have not improved since the onset of the tobacco selling season, despite a sharp improvement in the quality of the tobacco brought to the floors.

The visit revealed that farmers are still offered prices in the ranges of $0.80 and $2 per kg.

One of the tobacco farmers, Luka Kanama, claimed a lot of bales are being rejected when presented for the first time for no reason and sold after a month or more after they lose value, thereby fetching low prices.

Kanama said he brought five bales last week but sold only one bale while the remaining were rejected.

“We are worried with the level of rejection on the market. We would also like to see prices improve to $2.50 or $3 per kilogramme,” he said.

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