Businessman Muchadeyi Masunda says the problems faced by tobacco farmers this buying season were caused by the intrusion into the market of middlemen commonly known as makoronyera.
The former Harare mayor also blames dubious tobacco marketing associations, led by people with no business in the industry, for the chaos.
His comments come after complaints by tobacco farmers over the pricing system amid chaos at the auction floors.
“Most of the perennial problems which tobacco farmers have been experiencing post 2014 stem largely from the unmitigated chaos in the way the crop is being marketed,” Masunda says. “There has been a proliferation of tobacco marketing associations which are headed by people who have no business in the tobacco industry at all.”
Masunda says the middlemen should be stopped from further exploiting the farmers. “In a nutshell, the tobacco industry has been infiltrated by an unsustainably large number of middlemen [makoronyera] who seem to be driven more by greed than the long-term interests of the tobacco growers, especially the small scale growers.”
Small-scale tobacco farmers have been complaining bitterly over the chaos at the auction floors. On Tuesday, MPs promised to engage the government to address the problem.