The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board TIMB has set the 2023 marketing season for the crop to begin on March 8 amid high expectations of a bumper harvest.

In a statement, TIMB said auction sales will be the first to open on March 8, followed by contract sales the next day.

“All stakeholders are advised that the 2023 auction tobacco marketing season opens on Wednesday 8 March 2023.

“Sales at other licensed auction floors will start at 9.00 am on Wednesday 8 March 2023. Contract tobacco sales will open on Thursday 9 March 2023,” the board said.

During the 2023 tobacco marketing season, tobacco growers will be paid 85 percent of their earnings in foreign currency, and the remainder in local currency.

TIMB public affairs officer Chelesani Tsarwe said modalities for the beginning of the 2023 marketing season are almost complete.

“We expect smooth and orderly marketing this year.

“Crop assessment is still ongoing and we expect to finish at the end of this week,” she said.

A crop assessment process has been conducted to determine the quality and expected size of the yield.

Tsarwe added, “As of 12 January 2023, TIMB recorded 104,635 hectares under tobacco for the 2022/23 cropping season whilst there were 111,912 hectares of tobacco during the same period in the previous season.”