The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says it is disbursing $450 000 daily to banks with branches at tobacco auction floors to ensure farmers access cash.
This comes following an outcry from farmers who are reportedly failing to access the prescribed $300 cash daily from banks at the auction floors.
However, RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya told The Herald Business that the central bank was disbursing enough cash to pay farmers.
“I have a number of resident central bank members at the auction floors whose sole job is to ensure farmers can access their money from that side.
“We provide cash enough for an average of 1 500 farmers, $300 daily to ensure that tobacco farmers can access their money from the banks,” said Dr Mangudya.
Farmers claim the banks are giving them a once-off payment of $300, mostly in bond coins while at time they are not given anything.
But Dr Mangudya said that farmers should open bank accounts to ensure they can access cash after selling their tobacco.
“As far as I’m concerned the central bank and banks are doing splendid job at the floors as far as ensuring that farmers are accessing their money.
“The problem is that some farmers have no bank accounts, we encourage them to open bank accounts to ensure they get their money.
“It is not surprising to see that those who are making a lot of noise are those ones who do not have bank accounts,” he said.
Farmers have also been encouraged to open bank accounts to speed up Government’s efforts to ensure financial inclusion.
Banks rely on the RBZ for supply of cash because very little is being deposited. When they fail to get cash from the apex bank they struggle to avail cash to farmers.
Dr Mangudya recently said that farmers were the geese that lay the golden eggs and therefore should reap the fruit of their labour.
Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s single biggest foreign currency earner, which is needed for critical imports such as the fuel and electricity.
Besides the issue of prevailing cash shortages, the farmers have also called on Government to intervene and save them from abuse perpetrated by corrupt syndicates of merchants and touts (makoronyera) who are buying their crop for a pittance.
Last year, farmers were allowed to withdraw as much as $1 000 cash per day, but banks were unable to meet the demand.
This has frustrated some tobacco farmers and caused them to sell their crop to unscrupulous middlemen who are offering instant cash.
Some of the ramers are now shunning the auction floors where banks are giving them once off payment of $300 cash per sale.
The balance is deposited into the farmer’s bank account.