tobacco floors sale.jpgA third tobacco auction floor, which was licensed by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) this year, will open its doors to farmers this Wednesday in a move that is expected to ease congestion, which has hit the tobacco industry since the start of this year’s marketing season.

The new auction floor, Millennium Tobacco Floors, has finished refurbishment of premises and is ready to open its doors to farmers.

When the ZBC News team visited the auction floors at Msasa Industrial site, trucks were already queuing up as the company has already started receiving tobacco.

The Company’s Board Chairman, Mr Hillary Mombeshora said all is now set for the opening of the Millennium Tobacco Floors.

“We have completed all the renovations and TIMB has inspected the premises, we are now putting final touches and as you can see we have started receiving bales. We have so far booked in over 2 500 bales and selling will definitely commence on Wednesday,” said Mr Mombeshora.

Long and winding queues have become the order of the day at the main auction floors in the country with farmers spending several days sleeping outside the floors in order to sell their crop.

The farmers have since appealed for TIMB to come up with new marketing strategies to cushion farmers as they are being exposed to bogus dealers who are reported to have resurfaced at the floors, taking advantage of the congestion and delays experienced by farmers in selling their crop.

 

Meanwhile, the Harare City Council health department has promised to work closely with tobacco auction floors to ensure that farmers have access to clean ablution facilities and running water so as to prevent the outbreak of communicable diseases.

 

The move comes after ZBC News alerted authorities that a health hazard was looming at the auction floors.

 

The department toured the auction floors to see the situation first hand and the health officials’ first port of call was Boka Tobacco Auction Floor to assess the recently constructed ablution and sanitary facilities.

 

City Health Department Director, Dr Stanley Mungofa said they are willing to work with the auction floors to ensure that farmers have access to clean toilets and running water so as to prevent the outbreak of communicable diseases.

“In the event that the existing ablution facilities cannot match with the required standards, the city council has the authority to close the floors until they rectify the situation,” Dr Mangofa said.

 

When the health delegation visited the Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF), their ablution facilities were in a sore state with farmers raising health fears due to the unhygienic conditions at the floors.

 

TSF Managing Director, Mr James Mutambanesango however said the overwhelming number of farmers who turned up to sell their crop has contributed to the current state of the ablution facilities which can no longer cater for farmers and their families who are staying at the floors for days.

 

“We are currently working on extending a section of the floors and turning them into ablution facilities,” Mr Mutambanesango said.

 

Since the beginning of the tobacco marketing season, auction floors have been overwhelmed by the large number of farmers who came to sell their crop.

With ablution facilities not adequate, there have been fears that there could be a disease outbreak at the floors.