Tobacco auction floors will be decentralised this year to avoid concentrations of people with accommodation modalities and the days on which farmers should visit the auction floors now being worked out.
This was revealed by President Mnangagwa yesterday while fielding questions from journalists at State House after delivering his speech on the national lockdown.
“With regards to the tobacco sector, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board has been sitting and consulting our (Covid-19 Inter-Ministerial) Taskforce and they have come to an arrangement where the tobacco auction floors are going to be decentralised countrywide to minimise crowding,” said the President.
“In the process, they are going to observe the measures, that is social distancing, and also the question of accommodation will be regulated as to who comes and on which day, because the areas of concentration will be limited in terms of the centralisation.”
The 2020 tobacco auction floors were set to open today.
The tobacco marketing season normally starts mid March, but that was put on hold because of the health threat posed by Covid-19.
Farmers are expected to get half their earnings in United States dollars with the rest in local currency at the prevailing interbank rate.
In anticipation of the opening of the marketing season, it is understood that TIMB is in the process of engaging the Ministry of Health and Child Care on safety and precautionary measures to be taken during the season in the wake of the pandemic.
The date for the opening of the auction floors is yet to be announced.
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