The 50 percent foreign currency retention introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to boost the tobacco industry has started paying dividend as most farmers began accessing the forex component remitted in their nostro accounts.

The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) confirmed that the bulk of their members who managed to service their contract farming loans have started accessing the forex retention.

“Yes most of our farmers are accessing the retention, although it is taking a week or so but it’s working as long as the farmer is left with RTGS component enough to meet the amount of the retention. Those contracted are required to clear their loans first then access the forex retention, so it’s happening,” said ZTA spokesperson Casper Mlambo.

The Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe (TAZ) president George Seremwa also confirmed that the bulk of their members have started benefiting under the retention scheme.

“It has delayed yes, but as a new system we understand, but the farmers are happy that the RBZ has fulfilled its promises. We urge the farmers to put the forex to good use by farm implements and inputs so that they increase production,” he said.

Farmers have raked in about $330 million in foreign currency from over 174 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf which have gone under the hammer so far.