tobacco selling 2011.jpgTobacco farmers have questioned the criteria being used in the licensing of auction floors, accusing some TIMB employees of being shareholders in some of the licensed floors which are failing to perform.

Some farmers who spoke to ZBC News said the criteria used by the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) lacks transparency as some members from the Board are shareholders in these floors.

They said such corrupt activities have created a conflict of interest leading to TIMB’s failure to adequately address farmers’ concerns during the marketing period.

However, TIMB Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andrew Matibiri, refuted the claims.

He said the TIMB is not involved in the running of any auction floor adding that they have no interests attached in licensing any floor.

“We have a number of aspects to consider before giving the new and old auction floors a green light to operate this season. The Floors should ensure that growers have suitable and adequate amenities in terms of, ablution, security, banking, healthcare, canteen, accommodation and waiting rooms which some floors had failed to provide last season,” he said.

The 2012 tobacco auction marketing season is set to open on the 15th of February, with a targeted 150 million kilogrammes of the crop expected to go under the hammer.

Last year, 132 killogrammes were sold.