When the Rhodesian tobacco sales opened on Tuesday (April 3) -- behind closed doors for the eighth successive year because of the sanctions campaign -- there was optimism for a viable future among farmers.
When the Rhodesian tobacco sales opened on Tuesday (April 3) -- behind closed doors for the eighth successive year because of the sanctions campaign -- there was optimism for a viable future among farmers. The Rhodesian Minister of Agriculture, Mr. David Smith, had earlier said that the prospects for Rhodesian tobacco were bright and would remain so irrespective of political developments. Although this year's tobacco auctions were described as "open" the public and the press were not admitted. There were, however, buyers from many countries present, it was reported. It was also disclosed that while official "pleasure" had been expressed at the prices paid, unofficially there was initial disappointment. Top qualify leaf had not brought the expected 25 per cent increase over last year. Lower grade leaf, however, was bringing good returns.
Despite the drought which has hit the entire Rhodesian farming industry, the tobacco crop does not seem to have been seriously effected. On tobacco farms throughout the country, crops are being reaped, graded, cured and baled; readied for the auctions. Tobacco, according to a Rhodesian expert, is currently a much sought-after commodity because world stockpiles have been considerably depleted recently, while production has dropped in a number of the more important producing countries, notably the USA.
SYNOPSIS: Despite the drought which hit Rhodesia in recent months, that country's vital tobacco crop does not same to have been badly effected. According to Rhodesian tobacco growers it is, in fact, a good crop and one which has matured excellently in time for the current sales. Even as the farm workers harvest the crop, buyers -- reportedly from all over the world -- bid behind closed doors at auction sales which opened on Tuesday.
This is the eighth successive year that the sales have been staged privately because of the sanctions campaign. Though they are described as "open" this year, neither the press nor the public are admitted.
Rhodesian tobacco farmers are highly optimistic about their future and Agriculture Minster, Mr. David Smith, recently said the prospects for Rhodesian tobacco were bright and would remain so irrespective of political developments. However, following the opening of the sales while there was officials delight at the prices, unofficially there was some disappointment.
Top quality leaf had to brought the predicted 25 per cent price increase over last year. Lower grade leaf, however, is faring better. According to a Rhodesian expert, with world stockpiles badly depleted, and production figures down in many producing countries, it was now very much a sellers' market.