Andrew Matibiri, the chief executive officer of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) announced measures to deal with deviant tobacco merchants, mafia, cartels and middlemen.
The CEO said:
We are going to revoke licences for all unscrupulous dealers and suspend them for a year or two. Some contractors like Agritrade witnessed our ugly side last season when we closed their floors in Rusape. This year we will deal decisively with all cartels or mafia. The police will be readily available to help us in these operations.
Criticism has been made on TIMB for not taking action on merchants who were abusing unsuspecting farmers. This year, a number of companies have pledged to comply with TIMB regulations.
Middlemen are believed to be offering farmers better prices than those on the auction floors. This has the potential to lure more farmers including a Mazowe farmer, Funny Matawu who said:
I will not hesitate to give my tobacco to anyone as long as I get good prices, whether it’s the middlemen or whoever. If TIMB and RBZ don’t act on time, most tobacco will be sold through unofficial means.
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