The implementation of the tobacco e-marketing might take too long than expected as investigations by ZBC News show that auction floors and merchants are allegedly colluding to delay the bidding process despite the fact that the new technology was recently fine tuned and proved to be working by a team of experts from India where the e-marketing was secured.
Tobacco e-marketing face resistance despite efforts by Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) to bring Indian experts to fix the system.
A visit by ZBC News to the auction floors reveals a worrying scenario whereby only a few merchants in collaboration with TIMB officials were battling to apply the new technology while the bulk of farmers and merchants were divorced from the electronic model as they prefer the manual method which is faster.
ZBC News also observed that the trend at which the merchants bid under the manual system is totally different.
Under the new technology the bidders collude to put one cent from the starter price of at least US$2.30 until the last price of at least US$4.99 resulting in the process taking too long as compared to the manual system where they would raise prices with 20 cents and 50 cents to a dollar making it faster to get to the final price.
It also came to light that the way the new technology is being applied in Zimbabwe is totally different from India where it was copied from.
In India, farmers would be viewing and monitoring from big screens on how their bales are being sold and payment will processed in two weeks or more hence reducing congestion.
At the auction floors in Harare no farmers were seen at the monitoring screens as per norm, a reflection of lack of awareness on the new technology.