• May 21, 2024

Decentralized Marketing Continues in Zimbabwe

 Decentralized Marketing Continues in Zimbabwe
Photo: Taco Tuinstra

The decentralized auctioning of tobacco is now a permanent feature of Zimbabwe’s tobacco marketing system, reports The Herald, citing the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB).

Previously, tobacco sales were conducted exclusively in the capital, Harare, causing farmers to incur transportation cost and forcing them to spend days away from their fields. The centralized auction system dates from the time that Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry was dominated by commercial plantations with a limited number of large-scale growers.

Following the land reform program of the early 2000s, Zimbabwean tobacco production is now characterized by small-scale production, with hundreds of thousands of participants each selling relatively small amounts of tobacco.

Decentralized sales started in 2021, with floors opening in Marondera, Rusape and Karoi Mashonaland West, among other locations.

TIMB CEO Meanwell Gudu said decentralization of sales would continue in 2022 because it brought convenience and reduced transport cost to farmers who sold their golden leaf at the nearest town.

“The decentralization is very positive because it is in line with government policy on devolution,” he said.

During the 2021-2022 summer cropping season, Zimbabwean farmers put just over 105,000 ha of land under tobacco, down from 106,494 ha last year.

According to the TIMB, more than 121,000 farmers had registered to grow tobacco during the 2021-2022 season by Dec. 31, a decrease from the 144,462 growers who had signed up during the same period the previous year.