It’s a different season, not like the one we’re used to. The season started later than usual. There is obviously some anxiety about the way things are going to go.Chido Nyakudya, CEO of Boka Tobacco Floors
The world’s economy can be reduced to its minimum production levels if lockdown period keeps being extended further. Zimbabwe tobacco farmers started selling the golden leave last week on Wednesday 29th of April 2020. The opening of Sales Floor was delayed due to the ravaging of the pandemic Coronavirus which started in Wuhan Province, China late December 2019 and then spread the whole world.
Tobacco sales floor is the most loved market by the farmers as they recoup their sweat by getting the hard foreign currency.
Coming a month later than usual, farmers, who produced an all-time high of 259 million kilograms of tobacco last year, sell their crop to tobacco merchants, who process the crop for export. Some of the farmers complained that travelling to sales floor was not easy as the police harass them on the way despite permission to travel during this lockdown.
Tobacco producers are also concerned about the restriction of movement as the lockdown is still in place.
“It’s not very easy to come here to Harare because the police harass us despite permission to travel during this lockdown.”Biggie Muronda, a tobacco farmer
This difficulty sometimes pushes producers to resort to intermediaries which results in a fall in profit. I think people are nervous about sending in their tobacco because of the COVID lockdown. They don’t know how it works in the city when they’re in the rural areas.
I think people are nervous about sending in their tobacco because of the COVID lockdown. They don’t know how it works in the city when they’re in the rural areas.Mike Roberts, a buyer.
The farmers are mainly interested in selling their crop at a pretty good price. Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s second biggest earner of foreign exchange after gold. Last year, it generated $747 million in exports mainly to China and Europe, according to central bank data