TIMB recruits informers to eliminate middlemen

14 Mar, 2022 - 00:03 0 Views
TIMB recruits informers to eliminate middlemen Updating the media on the preparedness for the 2022 tobacco marketing season, TIMB head of inspectorate, Mr Saviour Muvirimi, said they had come up with various strategies to curb side-marketing. 

The Herald

Elita ChikwatiSenior Agriculture Reporter 

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has recruited informers within farming areas to curb side-marketing activities this season. 

The board is also working with relevant authorities to come up with a Statutory Instrument on side-marketing and will also name and shame individuals and contractors perpetuating the practice. 

Growers’ numbers of farmers involved in side-marketing will be blocked, the board will suspend sales and revoke licences from contractors involved in side-marketing. 

Side-marketing is a form of contract default where a contracted tobacco grower sells his or her tobacco to a third party in breach of a legally binding contractual agreement which states that contracted tobacco shall only be sold to or bought by the licensed contractor who provided inputs to such a grower. 

Side-marketing is also a form of breach of law when auction tobacco is sold otherwise than through auction floors in breach of S40 of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Act (Chapter 18:20). 

Side marketing can also take place when a contracted farmer sells his or her tobacco to a licensed contractor other that the one who supplied him or her with inputs. 

Updating the media on the preparedness for the 2022 tobacco marketing season, TIMB head of inspectorate, Mr Saviour Muvirimi, said they had come up with various strategies to curb side-marketing. 

“We have recruited informers in all farming areas to receive information on the presence of illegal buyers in communities. 

“TIMB has established an inspectorate department and we are carrying out awareness campaigns educating farmers on the dangers of side-marketing. 

“We will be making constant radar sweeps on frequency of sales on grower numbers. We are doing this with the view to identify grower numbers perpetuating side-marketing. 

“Respective individuals will be called to explain these sales and if we are not convinced, we will block and suspend the grower numbers and refer such criminal elements to the police for prosecution,” he said. 

Mr Muvirimi said they are also going to increase surveillance patrols in farming communities to identify middlemen and errant licensed contractors. 

A total of 110 770 hectares were planted to tobacco this season registering a decline of 11 percent from 125 176ha same period last year. 

According to the First Round Crop and Livestock Assessment report, the bulk of the irrigated tobacco is ready for marketing while some of the dryland crop is being harvested, cured and graded.  

Some farmers were also affected by the late rains and have a late crop. 

“False and flush re-opening of the tobacco crop was experienced due to excessive rains resulting in barn space being a major constraint. The prevailing dry spell has a possibility of improving tobacco crop that had been undergoing water-logging stress,” read the report.

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