Zimbabwe has finalised modalities to decentralise tobacco auction floors with effect from next year to ease congestion and lower costs for the growers.

A fact finding mission on the state of the country’s tobacco auction floors carried out by the parliamentary portfolio committee on lands, agriculture and irrigation revealed the rise in the volume of tobacco deliveries has created pressures  for buyers in balancing transactions and sustain huge demand for payments.

It also emerged that while regulatory authorities are in talks over the possibilities of expanding the capacity of the existing auction floors, the need to introduce the buying centres at strategic or designated points is important.

Chairman of the committee, Cde Christopher Chitindi told the ZBC News that they are recommending for an urgent consideration of decentralising the auction floors given the importance of tobacco as a key foreign currency earner of the economy.

“Plans are afoot to decentralise the floors because that will create an opportunity to increase inflows of hard cash,” he said.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chairperson, Mrs Monica Chinamasa said the decentralisation of the auction floors is being targeted for next year.

“We are working on the issue and if everything goes according to plan then we might start early 2018,” said Mrs Chinamasa.

Data presented to the committee indicate a total of 152 million kilogrammes of the commodity worth US$440 million has so far been sold at the auction floors, with projections of at least 200 million kgs of the golden leaf worth US$800 million being expected to be sold by the end of this year’s marketing season.