Boka Tobacco Floors, which is involved in the marketing of the foreign currency producing leaf, has told the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement of an influx of unauthorized buyers also known as “makorokoza” into selling points causing loss to the company.
Stakeholders in tobacco appeared on the Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement Committee today as Zimbabwe heads towards the opening of the leaf trade on 20 March
“In recent years we have seen an influx of unauthorised tobacco buyers coming to our facilities and preying on our growers convincing theo themselves (unauthorised buyers),” Managing Director at Boka, Chido Nyakudya said.
“This has resulted in losses for us, as we incur costs. As we handle the tobacco we provide services to the farmers but then once the tobacco is rejected they (farmers) have not the mechanisms of collecting our costs.”
Besides the unauthorised sale of tobacco, Boka also revealed that there has been a spike on the theft of the crop on trucks in 2017 and 2018 as soon as they enter into Harare.
“While some culprits have been caught and arrested, we believe more needs to be done,” Nyakudya said.
“Our suggestion in regards to this is that, punishment for stealing tobacco bales needs to equated even to those of stealing livestock.”
Nyakudya also said there is a need for vendors, who are blocking way to tobacco farmers and traders on access to floors, to be more organised and sanitised.
Tobacco is one of the largest producers of foreign currency in Zimbabwe.
“We have tried to block makorokoza from entering our facilities and we reported them to the police but we strongly believe that the current penalties for these are too lenient and are not deterrent at all,” Nyakudya said. “They always end up coming back”