THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) of Zimbabwe plans to introduce stiffer penalties for “side marketing” of tobacco, reports Daily News.
Side marketing is a form of contract default in which a farmer agrees to grow for one buyer but sells to another. When this happens, the contracting merchant not only loses his tobacco but also the agricultural inputs he provided to the farmer.
“TIMB has zero tolerance to side marketing,” said TIMB public relations officer Chelesani Moyo. “We are encouraging all stakeholders involved in the production of tobacco to stop the practice and make the tobacco farming business sustainable in Zimbabwe as we look ahead to the 2022 tobacco marketing season.”
At the same time, the TIMB has introduced measures to protect farmers from being shortchanged by contractors through underfunding and overcharging inputs.
The organization is currently analyzing the latest submissions from contractors who previously were not compliant.
“We have 37 licensed contractors and nine out of the 37 are partially compliant because they have submitted partial regulatory information that we require,” said Moyo.
“We gave them up until 31 December 2021 to ensure they are fully compliant. We are going to suspend those who are noncompliant, and farmers will be released and allowed to be contracted to other schemes.”