Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Wives camp at auction floors

Tobacco selling season: Wives camp at auction floors

Sunday, 03 April 2011 14:07


AS the tobacco selling season gains momentum many women whose families grow 
the golden leaf have decided to follow their husbands to the auction floors 
to ensure that their spouses do not squander the money on booze and 
commercial sex workers.

However the agony of having to spend as much as two weeks queuing to sell 
the tobacco is now clearly visible on these women.

The women with children as young as four months old strapped on their backs 
have spent at least two weeks holed up at the auction floors waiting in 
queues to sell their crop.

The conditions are deplorable as ablution facilities are scarce and food and 
accommodation is difficult to get.

Over the past years many male tobacco farmers have fallen victim to Harare’s 
commercial sex workers whom they found too good to resist.

Most of them end up going back home without their earnings, which they lose 
to the prostitutes.

Grace Mashami who has an eight month old baby said she decided to come to 
Harare and sell the tobacco herself because she could not trust her husband.

“You know men can’t be trusted with money,” she said “He will come here and 
sell the tobacco and spend it all on commercial sex workers and beer and 
come back home with nothing.”

Mashami said she had not bathed her child for almost two weeks because of 
the poor conditions.

She said her biggest nightmare was the unhygienic conditions she was 
exposing her child to. She also bemoaned the lack of ablution facilities at 
the auction floors.

“My baby hasn’t had a proper bath ever since we came here 10 days ago.

“I can’t bath her in those unhygienic bathrooms which are opened at 2am for 
us to use before they lock them up shortly after.

“She also hasn’t eaten porridge in as many days.

Tapiwa Kangausaru from Tengwe in Karoi who also has a six month old baby was 
in a similar predicament.

“You can’t send your husband and risk having all the money squandered away 
by someone who did not struggle for it,” she said.

“It’s not easy to grow tobacco and see your husband bring home another woman 
from what you toiled for on your own.”

Garikai Vengesai from Karireshi in Magunje whose three year old son was 
crying from hunger said they have been surviving on food handouts from well 

Vengesai said she had to sleep in the open with her child in a crowded area 
together with other men and women.

“We sleep in the open and we didn’t come with warm blankets and sometimes it 
rains and becomes quite chilly,” she said.

“My son last had a meal yesterday around 6pm when someone gave him rice to 

“So he hasn’t eaten ever since.”

Vengesai who came to sell her five bales of tobacco said she could not leave 
the child at home because there was not one to look after her.

This year’s tobacco selling season opened in February and expectations are 
that this year’s crop will exceed the 170 million kgs sold last year.

The average tobacco price is expected to remain at more than US$3 per kg 
until the end of the marketing season.


New Posts: