TIMB red flags unlicensed tobacco association
THE Tobacco and Industry Board (TIMB) has raised alarm over the operations of a suspected “bogus association” called Golden Leaf Advisory (GLA) and its promoters saying the organisation is neither mandated to represent farmers nor the tobacco regulatory board.
TIMB acting chief executive, Mr Emmanuel Matsvaire told this publication that “there is no relationship whatsoever” with GLA, led by one Elisha Maziwisa, and urged farmers not to entertain overtures from the organisation.
Tobacco is a multi-million dollar industry in Zimbabwe, considered the second single largest export earner after gold and provides livelihoods to hundreds of thousands of households across the country, making provisions to protect farmers and the industry from unscrupulous entities critically important. The most vulnerable producers are smallholder farmers, resettled under the successful land reform programme and accounted for approximately 80 percent of the record tobacco crop of 294 million kilogrammes achieved by Zimbabwe during the 2023 marketing season.
“We have so many complaints from farmers who have been fleeced of their money by this organisation purporting to represent tobacco growers,” Mr Matsvaire said.
“The organisation has no mandate either from our Ministry (of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development or from the TIMB to represent the farmers.”
“It is a bogus institution that has been extorting money from farmers and other stakeholders.” No comment could be obtained from Mr Maziwisa by the time of going to print.
In April this year, the TIMB turned down the request from GLA for a meeting with farmer associations and contractors before disbursements of loans for the 2023/24 season.
“We take note of your proposal and would like to inform you that it is regrettably rejected. GLA is not properly registered by either TIMB or the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development. For propriety and good order, TIMB can only officially recognise institutions that have the said registration.
“It is the mandate of TIMB in terms of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Act [Chapter 18:20], to control and regulate the tobacco industry,” said Mr Matsvaire.
“The engagement between key stakeholders will be initiated at a certain time, through an agreed approach. TIMB wishes to point out that industry engagement will be done through associations that are properly registered with the relevant authorities.”