US dollar floods market as farm workers get paid in cash

FOREIGN currency dealers in Marondera are feasting on the United States dollar that has flooded the market as more than 1 500 workers at the country’s leading horticulture farms are now being paid in hard cash.

By Jairos Saunyama

The workers at Nhimbe Farm Operations have been paid their salary arrears in cash from Europe via money transfer agent for the past two months.

This paper is reliably informed that the fresh produce company’s partner in Europe pledged to settle the salary arrears for the workers in US dollars in a bid to avoid disruptions, as the workers threatened industrial action over non-payment of wages.

Nhimbe Farm operations include Sable Ranch, Rakodzi and Churchill farms that are all into large-scale horticulture business.

For the past two months, foreign currency dealers have been seen milling around retail outlets in Marondera that house the money transfer agents to buy the greenback for resale on the black market.

Nhimbe Farm Operations chairperson, Edwin Moyo confirmed that their workers were being paid in cash for the past two months.

“It is true that we are paying them in US dollars, it is rare. So far, we have paid them in cash for two months. The money is getting to them via Mukuru. This means it is foreign currency that is getting into the country. We have about

1 500 workers and all are being paid in cash,” he said.

Nhimbe Fresh Exports, a subsidiary of the horticulture company that processes the farm produces, is currently under massive upliftment after it secured a $2,5 million loan facility from foreign investors meant to capacitate blueberry and raspberry production.

The investment was aimed at increasing their exports by more than $10m this year.

The horticulture company is partnering with government through remitting 1% of its exports profit that is meant for research purposes.

The three farms employ workers from Marondera town, while others are being hired from Murewa and Macheke. – NewsDay

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