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Posts Tagged ‘tobacco farmer’

Tobacco Policy Not Protecting Us, Farmers Said

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

cheap bond cigarettesTobacco farmers yesterday expressed dismay over the failure by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board to facilitate the payment of their refunds for tobacco packaging material.

Speaking after selling their tobacco at Boka Tobacco Floors, a group of farmers from the Igava area of Marondera accused TIMB of not protecting farmers’ interests by allowing Propak, the sole supplier of the hessian material and wrapping paper to sell the material to unscrupulous dealers.

“TIMB must work closely with Propak in the selling of the material to farmers and make sure all those who buy it appear in TIMB’s records.

“At the moment transporters are buying the material from Propak before coming to us and selling it at US$8 yet they would have bought it for half the price,” complained one of the farmers.

The farmers allege that transporters are the ones benefiting more from tobacco than the producers.

“Imagine, a transporter comes and sells the material for US$8 then charges US$10 for transporting every single bale to the floors and when the farmer gets here the prices are as low as US$0,50 per kilogramme- that is a total loss,” another farmer complained.

In response to the farmers’ complaints, TIMB chief executive Dr Andrew Matibiri said the farmers were entitled to a refund for the material.

“If they buy from authorised dealers there is a refund but if they buy from roadside traders or transporters as they say, Propak cannot refund them as these sellers do not represent Propak,” said Dr Matibiri.

He, however, said Propak used to have distribution points in the tobacco growing areas but the facility seems to have died a natural death.

“Farmers must also desist from buying the material from undesignated points as Propak can sell directly to them without engaging the middlemen who later add an extra charge,” commented Dr Matibiri.

Meanwhile, Karoi farmer Mr Never Gasho said it would make sense if the Propak’s material was for hire and farmers would pay through stop orders facilitated by TIMB.

“We want the bags back as we grow and sell tobacco every year so we are saying it would be better if they off-loaded the tobacco and gave us back our packaging material instead of retaining it.

“Sometimes we even see vendors selling second hand packaging material in the streets and we wonder where they would have got it from. That is daylight robbery,” he said.

He said it would be better if the prices at the floors were allowing them to achieve parity but was quick to add that a lot of trees had been destroyed during tobacco curing when the crop was not adding any meaningful value to the farmers.

Chipata Farmers Unhappy with Tobacco Prices

Friday, May 13th, 2011

cheap winston cigarettes onlineTobacco farmers in Eastern Province have blamed the government for its continued silence over the low prices offered by some outgrower companies. The farmers who called in to Radio Maria’s Issue of the Day phone-in programme on Thursday said they were not happy with tobacco prices that they were being offered.

One of the farmers from Katete who called himself Uncle Oscar said people had complained to the government several times but that government was not listening to their cry.

“Government is not helping us in this area, we are like orphans, we have complained but our complaint has not been heard. Look at Malawi, when the people complained the President responded by closing the floors and ordered the companies to offer good prices. Other companies were even banned from operating from there,” said Oscar.

Cephas Zimba of Mfuwe said the government should suspend the floors so that outgrower companies could reflect on their prices. He said the government should feel for the farmers who got paid once a year for their farming business.

Isaac of Chipata’s Undi area said it was better for tobacco farmers not to vote this year because they were upset with government’s silence on tobacco prices. He said if Alliance One Tobacco Company had failed, government should invite another company that could help the farmers. Ishmael Phiri of Petauke said it was unfortunate that the government had seen the problems that farmers were subjected to.

“Government’s silence means that it was the one which was benefiting from companies and not farmers, so it’s important that government pays attention to this problem.

Let government look at people’s problems so that they benefit from their business,” Phiri said. Mwale from Mnukwa area in Chipata said farmers had already lost and that government should come to their aid as fast as possible.

Tobacco business is lucrative in the province and most farmers have ventured into it.

Farmers Boycott Tobacco Sales

Friday, April 29th, 2011

cheap camel cigarettesBusiness at the three auction floors temporarily came to a halt today as farmers boycotted the trading of the golden leaf citing unviable prices ranging between US$0,80 to US$1, 10. Farmers at the three auction floors took their disgruntlement to a higher level by threatening to keep their tobacco and Camel, owing to what they term unviable pricing model and boycotted trading for more than two hours before the resumption of trading later in the day.

Farmers who spoke to the media at the auction floors said they were reaped off by buyers as tobacco was pegged at between US$0, 60 and US$I,20 at Tobacco Sales Floor.

At Millennium floors, a kilogramme was fetching between US$0, 80 cents and US$1. 20 while it was going for US$1 per kilogram at Boka Auction floors before it went up to $4.30 after the boycott. Farmers appealed for government intervention to bring sanity at the floors.

Boka Auction floors spokesperson, Ms Rudo Boka said the boycott was resolved amicably with the auction floor appointing a representative of all farmers at the floor, adding that trading resumed after deliberations with farmers, buyers and TIMB.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) chairman, Mr. Njodzi Machirori confirmed the development at the three auction floors but could not give a satisfactory reason as to why buyers were paying low prices.

Prices at the auction floors have been tumbling in recent weeks despite delivering the best tobacco as compared to what is normally delivered during the first days of the selling season.

The End of Tobacco Stalemate

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

buy lucky strike onlineThe nine-day long protest by the tobacco farmers came to an end on Tuesday when board chairman Kamalavardhana Rao assured them of better prices if they start taking part in the auctions. The farmers, who have been resisting to participate in the sale transactions till they get Rs 140 per kg, finally relented and agreed for the offer of Rs 124 per kg.

The board chairman rushed to Ongole on Tuesday following the farmers’ call to lay a siege to the board office at Guntur on Wednesday during the board meeting.

It took nearly two hours for him to pacify the angry farmers to agree to the formula. He said that the board would take the guarantee to see that the farmers get at least Rs 124 per kg for F-1 grade varieties and reasonably good prices for other varieties. He explained that the traders were not ready to pay more than Rs 124 keeping in view the international trends and the farmers too should understand the situation.

However, farmers argued that the traders were not sticking to their promises as they brought down the prices from Rs 120 to Rs 104 in a span of just one fortnight. They wanted to know as to what the board officials were doing when the traders were bringing down the prices in the guise of quality. Heated arguments continued for over an hour before the farmers relented.

Sources said Rao warned the farmers that the traders would take advantage if the delay in sales continued. He asked the farmers’ representatives to try to help the farmers by creating awareness among them. Kamalavardhan Rao later announced that the transactions at all the 13 platforms in Prakasam and Nellore districts would resume on Wednesday. Farmers’ representatives Nagaboina Rangarao, Kolli Hanumantha Rao and Kondragunta Venkaiah were present.

Tobacco Farmers Call for More Selling Points

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

buy marlboro cigsTobacco farmers have called on Government to establish more tobacco selling points to redu-ce pressure during the marketing season. This season, the Tobacco Sales Floor is the only auction floor which is functional as the Zimbabwe Industry and Tobacco Auction Centre’s licence was cancelled. Boka Tobacco Auction Floor is undergoing some renovations.

Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe secretary-general, Mr Stan Kasukuwere said farmers were living like destitutes due to the pressure at the floors.

“TSF alone can not cater for the whole of Zimbabwe. The number of tobacco growers is increasing each year and Government should ensure farmers have access to several markets to reduce pressure,” he said.

Mr Kasukuwere called for more buyers so that there is efficiency at the floors. “Contractors should also be allowed to buy from farmers at the auction to increase competition and also reduce the time spent by farmers selling their crop.”

Some farmers said they were being forced to cancel other plans as they spend more time at the floors. They said they were losing money at the floors as they buy expensive food at the floors.

A long winding queue of vehicles intending to drop off bales of tobacco has formed at the auction floors. Farmers who had managed to book on Friday were abandoned by transporters and could only sell their crop tomorrow.

“We are now being forced to use carts and wheelbarrows to get our crop into the floors,” a farmer from Mhangura said. Another farmer said: “We came on Thursday and were booked for Tuesday so the transporter can not wait for us to sell our tobacco next week.

“Of course there is accommodation but there are too many of us for the accommodation.

“Besides we can’t leave our bales in the queue and go to sleep inside the building otherwise we lose all the bales,” said Mr John Donhorere from Rusape.

Farmers who are delivering their crop without having made prior booking arrangements are also increasing the congestion at the floors. TSF and the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board have repeatedly called for farmers to book first before they travel to the floors. However, some farmers have ignored the call leading to the chaos.

Stakeholders in the tobacco industry had proposed to decentralise tobacco floors to provinces. No proposals from operators have been made for such a move.

This season, TIMB de-centralised its operations by opening regional offices at Chinhoyi for Mashonaland West, Mvurwi for Mashonaland Central, Marondera (Mashonaland East) and Rusape for Manicaland province. These regional offices are offering grower registration services, sales booking services and tobacco extension services.

Some farmers have suggested that the booking and registration facilities be decentralised to ward level. To ease pressure on the floors, TSF has increased selling teams to four and opened three booking places at the floors. About 150 to 200 million kilogrammes of tobacco are expected to be sold this season.

So far 15,9 million kilogrammes of tobacco worth US$48,2 million have been sold. The tobacco has been sold at an average price of US$3,03 per kilogramme.