Tobacco farmers have lambasted Millennium Tobacco and contracted banks for their failure to timeously pay them after delivering their crop, a situation which has left hundreds of farmers stranded.Long queues and commotion have become the order of the day at Millennium Tobacco Floors in Msasa as hundreds of tobacco farmers voiced concern over unavailability of cash as contracted banks failed to meet the cash demand.
Disgruntled tobacco farmers could be seen hanging around the tobacco auction floor and have denounced the slow pace with which both the banks and the Millennium Tobacco are handling the payments.
Efforts to get comments from the bank officials were fruitless.
However information gathered by ZBC News indicates that the contracted banks announced that they had run out of cash as early as mid morning, a situation which the farmers say is now the order of the day at the floors.
Public Relations Manager with Millennium Tobacco, Kudzai Hamadziripi acknowledged the cash problems and said the firm has since engaged the banks to correct the situation.
Despite being the best performing sector, the tobacco industry has in the past been marred by a number of challenges including delays in payments to farmers, long queues and unviable prices.
Observers feel that there is need for stakeholders in the sector to address the challenges so as to increase the sectorâ€™s contribution to economic growth.