HARARE – Tobacco farmers who have not yet received the 5 percent export incentive should approach their respective banks to resolve the issue, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said on Sunday.
In order to encourage tobacco farmers to increase production, as well as promote financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) awarded a five percent export incentive to tobacco growers’ payable through normal banking channels.
In a statement, the TIMB said most farmers who sold tobacco in the 2016 marketing season have been paid their five percent export incentive.
“A small number of farmers have not yet received the five percent export incentive.
“Tobacco farmers with outstanding five percent export incentive payments should approach their respective banks, or any of the TIMB offices if the incentive has not been deposited in their accounts,” said the industry regulator.
The RBZ recently said it had paid $26, 6 million export incentive to farmers who sold tobacco during the 2016 marketing season.
Meanwhile, the 2017 tobacco selling season is set to commence on March 15 when sales at auction floors open with contract trades resuming the next day on March 16.
The tobacco marketing season traditionally opens in February but the prevailing rainy conditions have prolonged curing of the crop.
This year, the country has projected an output of 205 million kilograms of tobacco from about 107 035 hectares of land put under the crop.
At least 82 110 farmers have registered to grow and sell tobacco during this cropping season.
Since the country started using multiple foreign currencies in 2009, the tobacco industry has been one of the fastest to recover from the economic meltdown of the past decade due to favorable prices and organised marketing.
Many farmers have been abandoning other cash crops such as cotton for tobacco due to the favorable prices and orderly marketing.
Tobacco is the single largest export commodity for Zimbabwe, ahead of platinum and gold.
Zimbabwe exports tobacco to countries like China, South Africa, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Sudan and Russia among others. – New Ziana