THE forex auction system which started to operate on Tuesday this week is not meant to benefit the poor small-scale tobacco farmers.
Tobacco Farmers Union of Zimbabwe
Most of the small-scale tobacco farmers in communal areas have already sold more than 80% of their tobacco, for they cannot hold onto it for long due to pressure from contracting companies and the need to pay labour, buy food and other necessities as tobacco farming is their only source of income.
These farmers have already lost their gains and profits, which has already been devoured by the vultures in the market.
Many can celebrate the reviewed exchange rate, but this will not change our situation as tobacco farmers as basic commodities and farming inputs continue to be charged using the parallel market exchange rate which is trading at US$1:$100.
The forex auction system rate is following far behind the skyrocketing prices of basic commodities and this will see a continued increase in prices every week after the forex auction and adversely affect the farmers.
The forex auction rate will always be below the parallel market rate, culminating in the continued suffering of tobacco farmers.
The government should not auction our US dollars to a market that only the rich have access to and at the end of the day come up with an averaged rate for farmers.
The Tobacco Farmers Union of Zimbabwe urges government to give Caesar what belongs to Caesar. We demand 100% foreign currency retention. The forex auction system is daylight robbery.
Tobacco farmers are being exploited for the benefit of the State and tobacco merchants.
This government has turned its back on tobacco farmers, they are doing nothing to promote the continued production of tobacco, but for self-enrichment.
This situation will worsen the suffering of farmers, plunging them into more poverty and hunger, and will see a decrease in tobacco production.
Most farmers in communal areas depend on tobacco farming as a source of income and they are disappointed by the payment system which was used this season.
This will affect household food security and lead to school dropouts as most farmers will be left with nothing.