Zimbabwe’s 2021 tobacco marketing season will open on Wednesday with a new payment system that will pay farmers within minutes rather than days after selling their product, reports The Sunday Mail.
“There is no need for tobacco growers to go even one day without being paid,” said Vangelis Haritatos, deputy minister of lands, agriculture, fisheries, water and rural resettlement. “The systems are so efficient that they have guaranteed us that within 10 minutes that some form of payment will be arranged. So the farmers come in with the produce, they deliver and almost immediately the account is credited; we don’t see any challenges, the money is coming in.”
In the past, payment for tobacco deliveries could take days to be processed.
Haritatos said the ministry would not tolerate side marketing.
“We keep encouraging and telling our farmers that farming is indeed a business,” he said. “Through the TIMB [Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board], the systems are all integrated; they all talk to each other. So if [I] have been contracted to TIMB and I try and sell my product to another floor or another contractor, basically I will be blocked because the systems talk to each other.”
Last week, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said it had put in place effective payment procedures to ensure merchants and farmers can retain or be paid 60 percent of their net revenue in foreign currency and 40 percent in local currency.
The TIMB has adopted a stricter and stringent regime of Covid-19 health protocols that restrict access to the floors to one person per delivery.
Under the new rules, flea markets and hawking will not be permitted around the premises of tobacco auction floors.