The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has suspended the operations of tobacco buyers accused of giving farmers a raw deal.
This comes amid disgruntlement and complains by frustrated farmers who are threatening to quit growing the crop, claiming they are being short-changed by some of the tobacco buying companies.
TIMB spokesperson Isheunesu Moyo has acknowledged receipt of the complaints from the farmers.
“We have since stopped some firms’ operations and in particular Agritrade Leaf Tobacco in Rusape for example, while investigations are being carried out pertaining to the complaints,” Moyo said.
However, efforts to get a comment from the company officials were unsuccessful.
The affected farmers allege some of the firms are making unexplained deductions from their payments while others are failing to pay them, despite having delivered the crop.
Takura Mukomberanwa of Hurungwe West told the Daily News: “We call upon TIMB to look into a litany of malpractices such as unauthorised insurance deductions because as it is, they do not seem to care about what we are going through and at the end of the day, it defeats the whole purpose of having gone into tobacco farming otherwise we should just quit.”
The amount they are taking from us is just too much and we end up left with virtually nothing and it does not make economic sense anymore,” he complained.
This comes as the situation at the country’s tobacco auction floors is so dire, with many spending successive nights before getting paid for their deliveries.
Over the last few weeks, farmers have been failing to withdraw the $300 per day promised by the monetary authorities.
The withdrawals crisis has seen illegal cash dealers relocating from the Central Business District to the auction floors where they target the desperate farmers