Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Tobacco farmers have welcomed Government’s decision to pay them part of their money in foreign currency.
The growers are entitled to a cash withdrawal of $300 per sale from banks operating at the auction floors and part of the cash is in foreign currency.
The farmers said they were happy that the banks at the auction floors were giving them a mix of foreign currency and bond notes.
Mhondoro farmer Ms Naume Nyamushanya said she was happy that she was getting part of her cash in foreign currency.
“We are happy that the central bank has listened to our concerns and hopefully this trend will continue throughout the season,” she said.
“We are happy with the new dispensation. We used to complain that gold producers were being given foreign currency and we were only getting bond notes. Tobacco is one of the major foreign currency earners in the country, so we should also benefit from the foreign currency.”
Farmers attending the inaugural tobacco conference organised by Cardinal Chartered Accountants recently raised concern that they were being paid 100 percent of their money in bond notes, yet they required foreign currency to buy machinery and spare parts.
The farmers complained that gold producers were being given 70 percent of their money in foreign currency while tobacco farmers were not being prioritised on the central banks’ priority list for foreign currency allocations.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa confirmed that farmers were receiving foreign currency as part of their cash payment.
He expressed fear that the farmers could become targets of some unscrupulous business people.
“While it is good that farmers are getting their money in foreign currency they should be careful as they may be duped by dealers,” said Mr Chabikwa.
“It is better that farmers open separate foreign currency accounts which they can use when they want to buy machinery from outside the country.”