tobacco selling 2011.jpgA health hazard is looming at the TSF tobacco auction floors as farmers and vendors have now transformed the nearby maize fields and bushes to toilets due to lack of adequate ablution facilities at the auction floors.

The influx of farmers and vendors at the tobacco sales floor along Gleneagles road in the Willowvale industrial area has led to overcrowding and congestion at the company premises and surrounding areas.

The tobacco farmers coming from different parts of the country have to go for days waiting for their turn to sell the golden leaf.

The farmers’ prolonged stay is good news for vendors who take the opportunity to make brisk business.

However, the requirement by TSF authorities that one must produce their grower’s card to have access to ablution facilities has led to many vendors and farmers resorting to using maize fields adjacent to the floors to relieve themselves.

A tobacco farmer from Chiweshe communal lands who came with her three month old baby said she has been at the auction floors for a week and is yet to be served.

Her baby fell ill and she went to the clinic at the auction floors only to be referred to Harare hospital. She said she didn’t know what to do as she had no money on her.

Peri-urban farmers who had planted maize in the fields near the tobacco floors are not amused with what is now happening.
Human excrements and used condoms are littering their maize fields.

Tobacco Sales Floor Managing Director, Mr. James Mutambanesango acknowledged that there is a challenge at the floors, but said the problem is being worsened by vendors who throng the tobacco floors, despite there being three canteens, adding that there are a number of ablution facilities and a clinic to cater for farmers.

Farmers however say the food sold by vendors is of a better quality.

To an ordinary person, providing mobile toilets appears to be the solution to avert a disease outbreak, but the authorities at the tobacco auction floors are yet to think along these lines.