Covid-19: Zimbabwe tobacco selling season under threat

Andrew Matibiri

This year’s tobacco selling season is under threat due to the Coronavirus pandemic, as authorities have moved to limit gatherings that could lead to the spread of infections.

The tobacco selling season attracts thousands of farmers to Harare and selling points outside the capital, to trade in Zimbabwe’s prime foreign currency earner. Apart from farmers, thousands of traders and other small businesses flock to tobacco auction floors in an annual money-spinning ritual.

However, this year’s season is in limbo after the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) has requested urgent guidance from authorities on opening the markets, given the Coronavirus risk.

In a letter seen by Review & Mail, TIMB CEO, Andrew Matibiri warned stakeholders in the value chain about the uncertainty.

It was not immediately clear late Wednesday whether the Minister of Health had made a decision.

On Tuesday, President Mnangagwa announced a raft of measures to contain a possible outbreak which included banning of gatherings of more than 100 people. – R&M