By Tapiwa Machemedze
TOBACCO farmers in Mashonaland Central Province are benefitting from decentralisation drive by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) with the marketing of the golden leaf now more convenient.
While tobacco marketing increases economic activity, farmers used to dread the period which entailed travelling long distances and being exposed to unscrupulous elements in the process of selling the golden leaf.
The script has, however, changed, with Mashonaland Central farmers, especially those from Mt Darwin and Bindura, reaping the fruits of decentralisation of tobacco marketing.
“At first, we didn’t embrace decentralisation and there some teething problems but now its smooth sailing. I can sell my crop from Matepatepa and go back the same time,” said one farmer.
“Tobacco marketing was a hustle. Our crops would get stolen along the way by robbers and we had no place to sleep in Harare were the floors were but this has changed,” said another.
The General Manager for Bindura Tobacco, Blessing Mudzamba who is also a beneficiary of decentralisation of floors by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, says more growers are now embracing the initiative.
“We have recorded more deliveries than when started because at this time last year we didn’t even have a floor. We have more farmers and expect things will keep improving,” he said.
Decentralisation has gathered pace at a time government is implementing devolution to grow provincial economies, while production levels of the golden leaf are expected to increase following the good rains last season.
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