Revenue from tobacco rose to US$10 million after three weeks of sales from US$4 million realised in the second week of this year’s tobacco marketing season. But the revenue is still US$11.6 million less than the US$21.613 million realised during the same period last year.
Data from the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) shows that the country has so far sold a total of 8,336,035 kilogrammes as compared to 15,273,175 kilogrammes sold in the first three weeks of trading last year.
On average, a kilogramme of the green gold is attracting an average price of US$1.19 which is US$0.22 less than the US$1.41per kilogrammes offered to farmers during the same period last year.
Analysts have attributed the fall in prices this year to overproduction of the crop by growers which has created an imbalance between demand and supply. TCC has since confirmed that it may not be able to find a market for over 40 million kilogrammes of tobacco this year as total production stands at 210 million kilogrammes against a forecast demand of 160 million kilogrammes.
This year’s tobacco market has been punctuated by frequent market interruptions as growers continue to disagree with buyers on prices.
But TCC Chief Executive Officer Albert Changaya says he expects the market to stabilise soon, arguing that the tobacco being traded at the moment is mostly brought by intermediaries.