By Leslie Nyoni
Tobacco Farmers Union of Zimbabwe (ToFUZ) has called on the Government and the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board(TIMB) to improve trading conditions as the harvest season approaches.
Speaking to Skyz Metro FM news ,Believe Tevera President of ToFUZ said one of the major problems that needed urgent attention was that of contractor companies who extorted famers .
Tavera urged government to set strict measures to curb the establishment of such companies which are growing exponentially.
“Contracting companies are only after making profits they are only after enriching themselves . If you see most of the contracting companies in Zimbabwe are sub-contracted by other companies , so they buy tobacco on behalf of these companies at low prices which adversely affects farmers. ”
Tevera added that the union was pushing for a 70 percent forex retention deal an increase from last year’s 50 percent which made sourcing of inputs a challenge.
“We believe that an increase to 70 percent is negotiable and as farmers we will not accept anything below that because we buy inputs using US dollars.”
Other requests made by ToFuz to the TIMB and government include the provision of readily available cash from monetary authorities, access to auction floors by farmers, and effective monitory of auction floors to protect farmers’ produce.
As Zimbabwe experienced heavy rainfall the president said some of the leaves will lose wait in some areas but a good harvest was on the horizon.
“We had good rains this year so for most farmers their tobacco will lose weight but in many parts of the country we are expecting good tobacco harvests . In some parts of Mutare and Penhalonga there was too much water which affected their crops.”
Government is yet to release dates to kick start the sale of the golden leaf as measures are being taken to protect farmers from the Corona Virus at the auction floors.