Vendors yet to reap from tobacco
March 3, 2013 in Community News
BUSINESS is yet to improve for scores of vendors and traders who have
flocked to Boka Tobacco floors hoping to capitalise on the tobacco-selling
By Tawanda Marwizi
Contrary to the past seasons when business was brisk from the onset, there
was little activity, attributed to low tobacco prices that have forced
farmers to adopt a wait and see attitude.
Anticipating big business, traders had ordered many scotch carts, ploughs
and other farming inputs.
Vendors who occupy market stalls had stocked clothes, cellphones, radio sets
and other gadgets they thought would appeal to the farmers.
But low prices at the auction floors averaging US$3,58/kg meant less farmers
were willing to sell their tobacco crop.
However, traders on Friday were optimistic that the prices would improve and
more farmers would come to the auction floors, making their business brisk.
A recent survey by Standardcommunity at Siyaso, showed that the
manufacturing of farming implements had grown rapidly, with tobacco farmers
“We have been in the business of making these scotch carts for years, but we
have been increasing their numbers because of their demand from tobacco
farmers who come to sell their produce at Boka,” Phillip Mapavenyika said.
Even airtime vendors who used to ply their trade in the city had relocated
to the auction floors, expecting better sales.
Some of the famers who hoped for better prices could be seen milling around
farmers however, criticised vendors who sold food at exorbitant prices and
some other basic commodities that could be bought cheaply in town.
“Just imagine how one can buy sadza for US$1,50. This is too much for some
of us who have been here since the auction floors opened last week,” said a
Mutoko farmer, Jackson Murova.
It has become the norm that prices of goods sold to farmers at the auction
floors are inflated, as businesspeople seek to capitalise on the influx of
Another farmer said he was finding it difficult to make ends meet.
“I have no relative in Harare. I have been pumping out money since I came
here two weeks ago and I am now bankrupt. I sleep in night clubs, waiting to
sell my tobacco,” said another farmer, Tafadzwa Muganga, from Banket.