Farmers in Hurungwe have implicated the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board of working hand in glove with contracting companies to fleece them.
Reports indicate that farmers have been contracted by certain companies on the understanding they will get inputs from the contractors. However, the farmers never get the inputs but are instead forced to sell their tobacco to the contracting companies since they would have been given growers’ numbers.
The affected farmers are convinced that this can never happen without the involvement of TIMB officials.
A Mail and Telegraph source had this to say
Some TIMB employees are involved in corrupt activities at the head office where they give grower numbers to tobacco contractors without the farmer’s knowledge. Farmers will only know in some instances when they want to sell their tobacco on the floors that he is registered with a certain company.
Some of these companies have a habit of registering farmers promising them to give them inputs and money for labour but renege on these promises.
On its part, the TIMB strenuously denied the allegations. In an interview with the Mail and Telegraph, communications manager Ishemunyoro Moyo said
Different individuals have different rights in the system. For instance, they are able to check if a farmer is contracted by another company as a farmer should not be contracted by more than one company. These allegations are unfortunate as it is based on speculation.
Of late some companies have been fined and licenses have been cancelled. TIMB is concerned with integrity and does not tolerate any form of corruption. There are no sacred cows and farmers should report any form of ill-treatment.
… We de-contract any farmer who decides to part ways with a contractor as long as they do not owe the company anything. During contracting, we require a form signed by the farmer and likewise, during de-contracting, we require a form signed by the contractor.
This is in an effort to protect both the farmer and the contractor. In the past, a contractor could simply give us a list of their farmers and we would contact them.
But because farmers would complain that they were contracted without their knowledge, we now insist on contractors giving us forms signed by the farmers. This now means for a farmer to be contracted without consent is criminal and involves forgery.
More: Mail and Telegraph
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