Tobacco farmers in Manicaland have blamed the “good crop and weak price” disaster getting at the country’s auction floors disagreeing that the trend was slowly pushing them out of the farming business.

Farmers interviewed these days argued their expectations of obtaining a profit of their investment was being canceled by a cartel of tobacco buyers who were holding prices in order to increase on revenue when exporting the gold leaf. Consequently, the growers are accumulating substantial cutbacks because of the stagnation of prices at the tobacco auction floors.

Growers stated the nose-diving price regime affected them adversely, and led them in significant debt.

They are blaming the buyers of deceiving them by creating a two-tier purchase program in which the gold leaf from non-contracted growers was getting the least prices in comparison to their hired competitors. The farmers reported the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) was doing absolutely nothing to secure them. He stated that top quality tobacco was sold at a lower price, and ultimately brought excessive prices on the international market.

Mr. Mutasa further suggested that TIMB must guard growers by assuring that tobacco prices were chosen on quality no matter of whether it was cultivated under contract or non-contract. “The present price program makes it attainable for low quality tobacco to get huge prices than top quality gold leaf cultivated by self financing farmers. “This is an effort by association to drive people into a contract farming system.”

The Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe president Mr. David Guy Mutasa advised growers not to hurry to sell their crop before prices were proved. “What is happening is not honest in any way to the grower. Even if they were to purchase at $6, you will discover that the farmer would have been cheated since they export the same leaf at between $16 and $20. Because of the low prices offered for the tobacco crop, growers were no longer capable to pay transporters, their employees and bank loans.