Zimbabwe’s tobacco auction floors are to close on Friday next week, 27 June, according to the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri. So far 194 million kgs of tobacco have been sold this year and the total is expected to reach 200 million kgs. Last year 166 million kgs were sold. “The flue cured tobacco marketing season will close on Friday June 27 with final deliveries accepted on Thursday 26 June. All growers who sell on auction floors are therefore advised to complete their grading and baling operations by Wednesday 25 June at the very latest,” Matibiri said. The clean up sale for the 2014 marketing season will be on 15 July. Some 90 000 farmers went into tobacco this year but some of the small growers were disappointed by the poor price on the floors. The shift to tobacco has seen maize production go down and matters have been worsened by the low producer price for maize and delays in payment by the Grain Marketing Board. The government, this year opened the market for maize making the GMB buyer of last resort.