Zimbabwe’s Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has banned Voedsel Tobacco International from contracting farmers this season after failing to pay farmers for two years, reports The Herald.
“Voedsel won’t be participating this year because they owe huge amounts of money to tobacco growers,” an unnamed official told The Herald.
Voedsel Director Tennyson Hwandi blamed “white-owned companies” for working against indigenous tobacco merchants.
“Big tobacco companies are being threatened by Black-owned tobacco companies, and Voedsel being one of the major players has been a target. They are determined to see us closing down,” he was quoted as saying, adding that Voedsel has already been giving its farmers inputs for the upcoming growing season.
A TIMB official said that if Voedsel was indeed issuing inputs, this would be illegal because the regulator had not licensed the company.
With buying facilities in tobacco-growing regions, including Rusape, Marondera and Karoi, Voedsel was among the major financiers of tobacco contract schemes.
Zimbabwe sold 212.7 million kg of tobacco at a value of USD650.3 million during the 2022 tobacco marketing season, compared with 211.1 million kg worth USD589.6 during the previous buying period.