BY SIMBARASHE SITHOLE
A SENIOR agronomist has warned that tobacco side-marketing could dissuade contracting firms from taking on board more farmers next season.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (Timb) is currently strongly pushing for legislation to deal with the vice.
According to reports, the Timb is engaging relevant authorities to come up with a Statutory Instrument (SI) against side-marketing during the current tobacco selling season.
Mashonaland central senior agronomist Lazarus Gatawa said: “Side-marketing will limit the contracting companies from registering more farmers in the following season. With the cost of farming inputs spiralling, the defaulting farmers will also find it difficult to self-finance in the succeeding season, thereby affecting their productive efficiency.”
The agronomist urged farmers to deliver their crop to the merchants who contracted them.
“This will ensure that tobacco contracting remains viable and sustainable to both the contracting and contracted parties. Side-marketing also has far-reaching negative impacts on the overall contract farming framework and its value chain. Contracting companies rely on good debt and volume recoveries from contracted growers to sustain their business,” he said.
Gatawa also encouraged farmers to embrace advice from field officers of the company that contract them and avoid shortcuts in order to obtain higher returns per dollar from their farming business.
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