Government has directed the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) to immediately decentralise tobacco auction floors.

The directive comes amid overwhelming numbers of farmers who are now risking their lives sleeping at the floors in Harare for many days battling to sell their golden leaf.

The success story registered in Mvurwi and Karoi tobacco floors where over 11 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf were sold has set the pace for the speedy implementation of government’s policy to decentralise tobacco auction floors.

Farmers selling their tobacco at a decentralised floor in Mvurwi this season added their voice on the urgent call to open more floors in tobacco greenbelts.

The Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Dr Joseph Made has ordered TIMB to be proactive to the plight of farmers by immediately enforcing the decentralisation policy.

Statistics show that auction floors which used to cater for about 600 white farmers only before the land reform programme cannot contain the pressure being exerted by overwhelming numbers of tobacco growers which have ballooned to about 97 000 this season.