RBZ sets withdrawal limits for small scale tobacco farmers at $1 000 for the first sale

HARARE – The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says individual small scale farmers will be allowed to withdraw cash of up to US$1,000 from their first tobacco sale and a maximum of up to US$500 for subsequent sales when the 2017 tobacco selling season commences. The 2017 tobacco selling season is due to open tomorrow (March 15, 2017) for the auction floors while contract selling will open on Thursday (March 16). In a joint statement with the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board, the RBZ said that proceeds from the sale of tobacco will be paid through farmers’ bank accounts and electronic platforms. The RBZ said large scale commercial farmers will be required to justify their cash requirements through their bankers, which requests will be considered through the application of KYC principles by their bankers. “The commercial farmers will be required to give a day’s notice for such cash withdrawals.” The RBZ gave its assurance that farmers will access cash during the tobacco marketing season but encouraged them to use plastic money for their transactions. The statement called on farmers who opted to contribute towards the Tobacco Retention Scheme in the 2007/8 marketing season to approach their bankers in order to receive their tobacco retention amounts for 2006/7 and 2007/8 marketing seasons. “The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Tobacco Industry Marketing Board and Tobacco Farmers Association wish to inform tobacco farmers that obligations due to tobacco farmers under the 2007/8 Tobacco Retention Scheme were paid by way of Treasury Bills issued to local banks by Government in 2014 and 2015.” Farmers entitled to the TBs are encouraged to seek proper financial guidance before disposing of these financial instruments in the market, at ridiculous discounts of up to 60%. “There are unscrupulous asset management companies who are taking advantage of farmers under the pretext of assisting them with cash. “Farmers who have waited for several years to receive the payment are, therefore, encouraged to hold on to their Treasury Bills until maturity in order to realise the full value or to approach registered financial institutions for assistance.” The statement also said that the 5% Tobacco Export Incentive for the current season will be credited to the farmers’ bank accounts on a monthly basis. “Farmers are therefore urged to ensure that their banking details are up to date with TIMB,” read the statement adding that farmers who are yet to receive the 2016 marketing season incentive should approach TIMB for assistance. This is because the farmers could have submitted incorrect banking details. The statement also called on various service providers to adhere to fair business practice in their engagements with tobacco farmers and to ensure that order and cleanliness prevail within the environs of all the tobacco floors.

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