Tobacco farmers have accused banks of asking for complicated things when they go to withdraw foreign currency. Resultantly, farmers end up going home without the hard currency.
The farmers said banks were demanding invoices when farmers approached them to withdraw cash from their foreign currency accounts. One Rusape farmer farmer said:
In the end we are going back home without the hard currency as this is complicated for us.
The farmers are demanding to be paid in foreign currency for their produce noting that tobacco is a foreign currency earner. They also noted that inputs are currently pegged in United States dollars. One farmer said:
Our tobacco is bringing in foreign currency into the country but meanwhile we are being asked to open Nostro accounts, which are unfamiliar for us. May authorities let us get a certain percentage of the foreign currency in cash and the remainder be deposited in accounts.
Acting chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Lands, Water and Climate, Mberengwa North legislator Tafanana Zhou said they would take up the farmers concerns to Parliament.
At the beginning of the tobacco selling season, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) announced that farmers would get 50 percent of their sale proceeds in foreign currency.
The crop is the country’s second largest foreign currency earner after minerals. Nevertheless, this year sales have been restricted following a stand off between the government and farmers over the pricing of the crop.
More: The Chronicle