The government in Zimbabwe is developing legislation under which it will be able to govern contract tobacco farming and curb undesirable practises that have become “rampant,” according to a New Zimbabwe story quoting Agriculture Minister Joseph Made.
“The ministry is already collecting views and information to be used in drafting a legal framework to guide contract farming and entice both farmers and markets to switch to such arrangements,” Made said in a speech read at the official opening last week of the 2014 tobacco marketing season.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) chairperson, Monica Chinamasa, said contractors were supporting more than 54 percent of registered growers and funding 72 percent of the area planted to tobacco this season.
During the previous season, contractors had accounted for 68 percent of all tobacco purchases, up from 64 percent during the previous year.
But there is room for improvement.
Chinamasa said the TIMB had instituted systems to evaluate the performance of contractors in respect of the cost of inputs and the timeliness of the disbursement of those inputs to farmers.
And the TIMB had threatened to withdraw licenses from those that failed to honor their obligations.
At the same time, farmers were being urged to fulfil their contractual obligations and to deliver their tobacco as agreed.
“Our message to all growers is to refrain from side-marketing,” she said.
Category: Breaking News