By Tendai Munengwa
The decentralisation of tobacco sales floors has brought convenience and reduced transport costs, congestion and chaos at sales floors, with farmers now selling their golden leaf at their nearest town.
Farmers who spoke to the ZBC News in Marondera praised government’s move to decentralise sales to selected points across the country.
“We are happy that several companies have taken heed of TIMB decentralisation programme. We are now relieved as we are no longer spending sleepless nights at the floors, as you know we used to spend days queuing in Harare with children, but with decentralisation that is now a thing of the past,” a lady tobacco farmer said.
Another said, “We are no longer vexed by middle man who used to swindle us of our hard earned crop in Harare. We want to thanks these companies which opened branches close to our farms.”
“We are happy with the prices being offered here, the decentralisation will go a long way towards helping farmers to cut cost and move away from the risk of thieves in Harare,” added another farmer.
A representative of one of the companies operating in Marondera, Mr Tennyson Hwandi is confident decentralisation will be a game changer for the tobacco marketing season.
“In the face of Covid-19 decentralisation has assisted in a big way to curb congestion and spread of the pandemic. We have taken heed of the concept and farmers are happy with floors coming to their doorstep.
“We have opened depots in the three main tobacco growing areas and this will boost deliveries as farmers can now travel short distance to sell their crop,” said Mr Tennyson Hwandi, Voedsel Tobacco Commercial Director.
The move to decentralise operations to the three main tobacco producing provinces of Mashonaland East, West and Central, has triggered competition with the leaf fetching an average of between US$2.50 and US$6.30 per kilogramme.