Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Tobacco Industry Marketing Board to shame nesting farmers

Tobacco Industry Marketing Board to shame nesting farmers


Andrew Matibiri

THE Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) said yesterday it will place details of farmers that would have committed nesting on notice boards at auction floors, including their pictures, as a way of shaming them and discouraging others from the practice. Nesting tobacco means placing good quality tobacco on the top of the hogshead and bad quality at the bottom or deep inside to conceal trash or inferior tobacco from the buyers.

Farmers normally do it to increase weight of the bales.  The practice attracts a penalty of $20 per bale or imprisonment for one year or both.

Over the past few years the TIMB has been complaining over the increase in cases of nesting with 488 farmers presenting over 1,400 bales weighing 56,943 kg for sale last year.

TIMB chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri said the board could not impose deterrent penalties since it did not administer the relevant Act.

“We can only take the farmer to the police station where they’re fined $20 and released,” he said.

“It’s the courts which can impose the alternative penalty of imprisonment for one year,” he said.

Matibiri said as a deterrent, the TIMB makes it difficult for farmers that would have committed nesting to sell their crop in future through thorough searching of their bales.

“After they’re caught, we flag the grower and whenever they want to sell we do a thorough search of their consignment,” he said.

He said Mashonaland Central topped the list of nesting cases last year with 201, up from 100 the previous year and accounted for 41.19 percent of all the recorded cases with Pfura district in the province recording the highest number.

Matibiri said farmers caught nesting did not repeat the deed and also the cases were not serious to warrant imprisonment as they mostly involved poor quality tobacco and not cow dung as used to happen in the past. – New Ziana.


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