By Stanley James
ZIMBABWE’S tobacco auction floors are ready for the golden leaf marketing season, with farmers expected to start delivering their tobacco on the 30th of March in a move anticipated to ignite hope for economic growth.
As the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) prepares for the official opening of the tobacco marketing season at the end of this month, it is the auction floors’ capability to sustain the needs of buyers and sellers that is under the spotlight.
This Wednesday TIMB Chief Executive Officer, Mr Meanwell Gudu presented the state of preparedness of the auction floors where he highlighted the need to ensure accountability for the benefit of the entire commodity’s value chain.
“I think you are aware that the opening of the selling season is slated for the end of this month, as a regulator of the industry, I think we are on course to finalise all the logistics with our inspectorate busy assessing the ability of auction floors to comply with set provisions in terms of overall trading of the commodity,” he said.
While the TIMB revealed that it has carried out inspections within the authorised auction floors across the country, the need to stamp out side-marketing activities has been cited as key to the success of this year’s selling season.
“The side-marketing activities are a real cause for concern to us, therefore we are working on that to ensure transparency and accountability taking into account the need to ensure there are no leakages while creating a fair or balanced level of trading in line with our regulatory framework,” said TIMB Head of Inspectorate, Mr Saviour Muvirimi.
According to the TIMB, Zimbabwe is among the top six tobacco producers in the world, accounting for seven per cent of the global supply and boasts of being the fifth-largest tobacco exporter in the world.