ANXIETY has gripped the tobacco industry after the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) decided to introduce dual production and marketing when the selling season kicks off at the end
of the month.
The government has changed the marketing of tobacco from an auction system to a dual approach where contract tobacco production and marketing will operate alongside auctions.
Under the new system, which will be put to the test on March 30 when the tobacco marketing season starts, nine contractors and the three traditional auction floors will be buying the crop.
Approved contractors include FSI Agricom, TSL, Zimbabwe Leaf Tobacco, Tobacco Growers Trust, Farmers’ World, Arda/Gold Driven Investment, Petroleum and two others whose names could not be established at the time of going to press.
Speaking to the Zimbabwe Independent last week, TIMB general manager Stanley Mutepfa said the contract buying of tobacco would start a day after opening of the auction floors. This would allow contractors to determine their prices.
“The prices should be equivalent to those offered at auction floors so that farmers are not prejudiced,” Mutepfa said.
“Contracted farmers will deliver their crop to an approved receiving point which meets TIMB standards for tobacco storage but the buyer will decide what to do with the crop,” said Mutepfa.