RBZ meets tobacco farmers ahead of marketing season

Ominous Tobacco Field at dusk. Notice two iny windmills visible on the horizon

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has met with tobacco farmer organisations ahead of the opening of the 2020 marketing season to iron out the challenges experienced in 2019 and ensure a smooth marketing of the crop.

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board is still consulting with stakeholders to come up with the opening date.

The meeting came after farmers raised concerns over the challenge in accessing foreign currency component of their proceeds last year.

The RBZ is expected to release a statement with the finer details of the payment modalities for the 2020 marketing season.

RBZ governor, Dr John Mangudya this afternoon said the meeting with the farmers was a success and he will soon communicate the agreed position.

“We had a positive meeting with the representatives of the tobacco industry including growers. We want to ensure that the tobacco producers are paid timeously.

“We also agreed on the format and substance of the communication with the tobacco industry, its coming out next week,” he said.

Zimbabwe Tobacco Association chairman, Mr Rodney Ambrose confirmed the developments but could not give finer details of what was agreed on the meeting.

“Indeed we had a positive meeting with the RBZ. We are tidying up the contents of the agreement reached. A statement will be released soon. We can only comment after the statement is released,” he said.

Tobacco farmers want the RBZ to simplify access to the US dollar component of their proceeds, including a portion to be withdrawn in cash.

Last year farmers were paid half their earnings through their Zimbabwe dollar accounts with the remaining half being deposited into their Foreign Currency Accounts.

However, most farmers faced difficulties in accessing their hard currency due to their failure to appreciate the processes involved.