230 convicted for side marketing tobacco
Harare (New Ziana)-At least 230 individuals have been convicted for side marketing tobacco since the start of the selling season, an official has said.
The Government introduced Statutory Instrument 77 of 2022 to criminalises side marketing of tobacco as it moved to protect contracting companies from unscrupulous dealers.
Side marketing is when a contracted farmer sells his or her tobacco (auction tobacco) to an unlicensed buyer or when an uncontracted farmer sells his or her tobacco (auction tobacco) to a licensed contractor.
Under the SI, a side marketer may be required to compensate three times the loss suffered by a contractor.
A person who engages in side marketing may also be imprisoned for a maximum of six months.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) spokesperson Chelesani Moyo expressed optimism that the new system would get rid of side marketers.
“To date over 230 individuals have been convicted for participating in side marketing.
“The new Statutory Instrument when used in conjunction with administrative penalties will go a long way in curbing side marketing,” she said.
Meanwhile, according to statistics released by TIMB on day 47 of sales, at least 134 851 391 million kg of tobacco valued at US$403 811 755 has so far been sold through the auction and contract systems.
The average price paid was $2.99 per kg as compared to $2.77 per kg paid during the same period last year.