Tobacco firm contracts 17 000 farmers
Marondera, (New Ziana) – One of the country’s leading tobacco firms, Voedsel Tobacco International has said it was targeting to contract more than 17 000 small scale farmers to grow the crop in the forthcoming farming season.
The company has three tobacco auction floors in Marondera (Mashonaland East), Mvurwi and Karoi (Mashonaland West) and intends to open another one in Manicaland.
Despite drought risks, the company says it was committed to supporting small-holder farmers for the long term because without the assistance, most of these would not be able to grow the crop.
“We have embarked on full swing supply of inputs to farmers. We have contracts mainly with communal and A1 farmers. This coming season, we are targeting to contract at least 17 000 farmers and we will provide them with the required inputs,” Innocent Mahufe, a senior official of the company, said.
The company has contract tobacco growers countrywide, mainly small scale farmers.
Another senior official of the firm, Tennyson Hwandi, said the farmers had largely delivered on their contracts, and both parties were satisfied.
“It is very clear that farmers from Mashonaland East are doing quite well when it comes to growing of tobacco and we have plans to increase our support to them. Our other depots have also been doing very well and this helps us in fulfilling our aim of helping the country earn more foreign currency that helps boost several sectors of the economy.
“As farmers continue delivering their tobacco to our floors, we would like to reassure them that systems remain in place for them to receive half of their payments in the form of the United States dollar, with the rest being in RTGS form,” Hwandi, the firm’s operations director, said.
“We are aiming at taking on board more to whom we will provide with the technical expertise in tobacco growing. We will provide them with inputs and the prevailing market requirements for the crop,” he said.
Tobacco is the country’s second biggest export after gold