Farmers boycott tobacco sales

HARARE – Business 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, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.