Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has warned that all tobacco contractors who failed to pay their debts and comply with the regulations will not be registered for this 2021/2022 agricultural season.
TIMB board chairperson, Patrick Devenish yesterday highlighted that contractors who failed to disburse recommended minimum inputs will be disqualified.
“We have set USD1 000 worth of inputs as minimum which contractors should give to farmers and for commercial farmers a minimum for 4000$US should be disbursed. Those who breach the rules will be de-registered while surrogate contractors who fail to settle their debts will be disqualified,” he said.
The rogue contractors are accused of giving farmers few inputs yet they want more tobacco at the end of the season.
Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe President, George Seremwa welcomed TIMB`s intervention. However, he appealed to the tobacco board to increase the inputs for better quality and quantity of the golden leaf.
“We welcome the development but we appeal if the board can increase the minimum inputs to 2000 $US dollars and 6000 US$ for A1 and A2 respectively so that we are assured of the best quality and yield.” said Seremwa.
The tightening of tobacco contract regulations is expected to reduce the number of surrogate contractors which had ballooned to over 40 resulting in chaos and rampant side marketing of the golden leaf.
More than 20 900 hectares have been put under tobacco with the planting exceeding the same period last year by almost 32 percent. The bulk of the tobacco planted so far is under contract while most smallholder farmers who do not have irrigation are still waiting for effective rains.