TIMB sets 2024 tobacco marketing modalities . . . 32 buyers get licences

EXACTLY a week before the start of the 2024 tobacco marketing season, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has announced the licencing of 32 contractors to buy leaf from farmers and spelt out strict modalities to curb side marketing.

March 13 has already been set as the opening of the auction floors, with the far-larger contract side following a day later.

Speaking yesterday, TIMB head of operations Mr Blessing Dhokotera said so far 32 contractors had been licenced to purchase the crop while engagements with others were still ongoing.

“Tobacco Sales Floor and Premier Tobacco Auction Floor are the only two licenced auction floors this year. We are still assessing the other contractors to determine their suitability to purchase the crop,” he said.

Mr Dhokotera said contract tobacco sales would be conducted in Harare and the approved decentralised selling centres of Karoi, Mvurwi, Bindura, Marondera and Rusape.

These were set up during Covid-19 lockdown and have been retained as they met many other needs.

Harare has 17 licensed selling points, with Manicaland province on six, while Mashonaland West has nine, Mashinaland Central seven and Mashonaland East five.

The 2024 marketing season’s pricing model will be determined by the bidding process where the highest bid will be the final price on every tobacco bale.

A grade-price matrix derived from the average grade prices from the previous day auction sales will determine the minimum price for every grade on the contract sales.

Mr Dhokotera reiterated that Government’s policy of giving tobacco farmers 75 percent of their proceeds in foreign currency and 25 percent in local currency on net proceeds, after settlement of all the loans, levies and other marketing costs would be used.

TIMB would be enforcing the regulations, banning child labour at all selling points.

“All selling points shall actively spearhead child labour awareness campaigns at their respective premises, including displaying relevant posters and flyers and ensure that no children under the age of 18 are in and around selling premises, tobacco processing factories and any other tobacco storage and handling facilities.

“Sales floors should prominently display awareness campaigns that highlight the issue of child labour in tobacco production with banners, posters and educational materials that provide information about the harmful and unethical practices associated with child labour,” he said.

This comes as the regulator recently held a cross-sector child labour workshop in Harare running under the theme: “Unifying effects against child labour in Zimbabwe.”

In light of the cholera outbreak and Covid-19 resurgence, all selling points were also expected to spearhead cholera and Covid-19 awareness campaigns at their premises, including displaying relevant posters and fliers, he said.

Mr Dhokotera said: “Each sales point shall have a designated isolation area in accordance with guidelines and recommendations from the Ministry of Health and Child Care. The Ministry shall be engaged to give guidance on how to handle suspected cholera or Covid-19 cases referred to the isolation centres on the selling floors.”

To curb side marketing, TIMB had come up with a transporter compliance framework, which would work towards developing a vibrant system that monitored the movement of tobacco from the primary source up to the market.

“In this regard losses are minimised thereby increasing farmer profitability and viability for improved livelihoods by 2025,” he said. “The framework seeks to counter criminal activities like side marketing, tobacco bale theft, bale swapping and forgery on stop order launching.”

TIMB personnel were in the field to makes yield estimates in the wake of the prolonged dry spell that is likely to negatively impact the initial forecast of 260 million kilogrammes this year.


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