Story by Owen Mandovha
Tobacco farmers’ representatives are impressed by reforms instituted by the new Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) management to eradicate bottlenecks in the golden leaf industry which has seen average prices going up by nearly seven percent.
Exactly a month since the tobacco marketing season commenced and over 44 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf have gone under the hammer.
Of the 44 million kilogrammes, 5 million went through the auction floors translating to over 10 percent of total tobacco volumes traded so far.
Zimbabwe Tobacco Industry Associations (ZITOGA) President Mr. George Seremwe noted that there is finally light at the end of the tunnel on the back of robust reforms being spearheaded by the new management at the TIMB.
“We are happy with the direction which is being taken by the new management at TIMB. For example, the payment mechanism has drastically improved and prices auction floors have been revived. The farmer is happy at the end of the day as their annual nightmares have been eradicated in a short space of time,” he said.
A representative of smallholder farmers Mr Mtandwa Mutasa is of the view that a new lease of life has been injected into TIMB.
He noted, “Farmers are thrilled by the happenings at TIMB. Issues to do with side marketing are being dealt with meaning that there is now increased competition at various selling points.”
The tobacco industry has for decades been dogged by scandalous affairs which created strong syndicates which defrauded ordinary farmers.
This year the country is projecting a record output of 230 million kilogrammes as the government ramps up production towards a national target of 300 million kilogrammes by 2025 backed by robust reforms being instituted by the Second Republic.