tobacco selling 2011.jpgThe Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board’s decentralisation programme could soon turn into a reality after 13 applicants showed interest in getting conditional auction floor licenses from Harare and some of the major tobacco farming areas across the country.

In development that is expected to ease congestion at the auction floors, the tobacco industry says it is in the process of assessing 13 applications for potential auction floors which have indicated their preparedness to venture into tobacco auctioning.

Of major interest is that the coming of the 13 auction floors will see the country moving a step forward in implementing the long awaited decentralisation of the tobacco sector.

The new applicants include Karoi Tobacco Sales Floor which is expected to operate from the small farming town of Karoi, Makonde Rural District Council & Freight Africa Logistics with its premises at the NRZ Complex, Lion’s Den, Reapers in Rusape , Sinkton Tobacco Auction Floors, Chinhoyi and Tobacco Co-operative company  in Mvurwi.

Some of the other applicants want to establish their auction floors in Harare and surrounding areas such as Chitungwiza and Ruwa.

Observers have expressed mixed feelings over the establishment of new auction floors, especially in major tobacco farming areas.

Some argue that the decentralisation will ease pressure at the existing 3 auction floors, while others are of the opinion that it needs to be implemented with caution as it might create another platform where merchants will manipulate the system to swindle farmers.