The tobacco marketing season is characterised by a lot of activities outside the selling of the golden leaf. Most of the activities are beneficial to the economy whilst others are illicit.
As a result, it is not only tobacco farmers who look forward to the marketing season as informal traders also make a windfall during this time through selling food and other wares required by tobacco growers.
A food vendor, Doreen Muteremuka (27) said during the marketing season she experiences brisk business at the auction floors compared to off season when she sells sadza in Harare’s Mbare high density surburb for a small profit. She said the tobacco marketing season is a stepping stone for most vendors.
“The marketing season presents us with an opportunity to make money through selling different wares to the farmers.
“Whilst during the season I can sell an average of 75 plates at a dollar each, during the off season sometimes we get so desperate to the extent of selling a plate for 50 cents,” Muteremuka said.
She added: “Not all the days are the same at the floors but there is always a reasonable demand for our services and wares and every single day is better than in Mbare.
“At the floors we always have something to take home.
“I have been selling food at the floors for the last three years and every year we look forward to the tobacco marketing season.
“We plan the year with the marketing season in mind we hope to do better each year.
“I have managed to buy household property using money I made from on -season sells, something which I could never have done if I only operated in Mbare.”
She urged other young women to identify similar opportunities and make money.
Another vendor only identified as Mai Ropa said the tobacco marketing season is not only important to farmers, but to everyone who was born with business in mind.
“This season has been great. There are more farmers hence an increase in the demand for food.
“Unlike in previous seasons where we played cat and mouse with council authorities, this season we were licensed and given places to operate from where we in turn pay rent. We find this very convenient.
“I usually run my business in Highfields Machipisa, but the returns are not as pleasing as I get here.
“On a good day I make $200, something which is plausible. Not in my wildest dream can I make such money in Machipisa, not even in two days.
“We all look forward to the marketing season,” she said.
Most vendors who sell different wares during the tobacco marketing season at auction and contract floors have seen this period as the time to fulfil their dreams.
After 26 days of the marketing season, growers of the golden leaf have been paid $170 million dollars after delivering 62million kgs compared to $136million that had been paid out to farmers by the same time last year after they had delivered 49million kgs.
The average price on the auction floors is $2.72 whilst on the contract floors it is $2.73
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