TOBACCO prices remain subdued 45 days after the official opening of the auctioning season, statistics availed by the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) show.
By Thursday last week, the daily auction average price per kg stood at US$2, 62 down from US$3, 79 recorded last year, representing a 31% decrease.
The figures also show that rejected bales in percentage terms over the same period last year went up from 8, 53% to 11, 80% this year.
High quality tobacco usually fetches good prices for lower primings while top leaves fetch even higher prices.
However, the TIMB noted that prices were expected to continue rising steadily as most growers were now delivering their upper leaf reapings which normally attract higher prices.
The board said the deliveries of primings which dominated the first weeks of sales was now less in proportion compared to leafy tobacco styles.
Reasons for rejection included bad handling as the leaf would be too wet or dry, mouldy or of mixed hands.
TIMB chairperson Monica Chinamasa said the focus of the auctioning process was on quality.
"The price offered depends on the quality of the tobacco. Poor grades fetch lower prices. Price is a function of quality," she said, adding that this also explained the increase in the number of rejected bales.