Senior Agriculture Reporter
The tobacco trade is implementing the tighter lockdown laws introduced by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, in his capability as Minister of Well being and Little one Care, on Saturday for the sector with not more than two folks now allowed to accompany every consignment of tobacco bales.
Current measures akin to masking and sanitising must be strictly enforced and tobacco farmers and their staff might be given increased precedence for vaccination.
“Tobacco public sale ground staff are required to have a unfavorable Covid-19 PCR or speedy antigen take a look at which might be legitimate for 2 weeks. Merchandising inside and across the tobacco flooring is prohibited. Failure to stick to those measures will end in closure of that exact public sale ground, the Vice President introduced.
There are additionally stricter measures for the principle city produce markets that require farmers to be extra cautious when delivering recent produce.
Tobacco Trade and Advertising and marketing Board chief government Mr Meanwell Gudu yesterday mentioned the board had engaged stakeholders to make sure they implement the measures and curb an infection.
“TIMB is working with all related stakeholders within the tobacco trade to make sure enforcement of the newest Covid-19 pointers introduced by Vice President and Minister of Well being and Little one Care. We are going to implement in full all the rules by way of tobacco advertising,” he mentioned.
Tobacco Public sale flooring operators additionally gave nod to the laws and urged farmers to not calm down.
Boka Tobacco Flooring common supervisor Mrs Chido Nyakudya mentioned her ground had been implementing the Covid-19 pointers by sanitisation, sustaining social distance and temperature testing.
“We’ve been working inside the pointers and we have to be extra vigilant. Some farmers had relaxed. We advise farmers to undertake know-how for promoting their crop. One doesn’t have to be bodily current on the flooring as a consultant can witness the sale.
“Farmers could make use of know-how. We are able to ship them their gross sales sheets through electronic mail or on their telephone and we’re prepared to offer them extra data concerning the promoting of their crop,” she mentioned.
Some stakeholders nevertheless expressed concern over the scenario at banks the place some farmers had been crowding and never observing social distance.
Zimbabwe Business Farmers Union president, Dr Shadreck Makombe mentioned stringent measures will hit farmers however they must comply for them to be secure.
“It’s unlucky folks had relaxed and this may result in a rise in instances. Life is of paramount significance and if all of the folks adjust to the rules the scenario will shortly enhance and measures relaxed,” he mentioned.
He urged authorities to make sure that unscrupulous enterprise folks is not going to make the most of farmers and begin providing unviable costs to determined farmers.
Agriculture professional, Mr Charles Dhewa mentioned horticultural farmers also needs to think about on-farm preservation and worth addition as a part of minimizing losses and lengthening their commodities’ shelf life. They need to not put many hectares underneath perishable crops because the market might be very unpredictable.