Carved on their faces are visible marks of sorrow as they sit patiently outside one of the country’s tobacco auction floors, in Harare. The small-scale farmers lament the meagre earnings they are likely to receive after the tobacco sales.
Many of the small-scale farmers are struggling, impoverished by merchants who lure them into debt through contract farming. After harvest and sales, the farmers – entangled in debt – see all their proceeds go to serving paying off their debts with local contract companies that supply them with farming inputs at the beginning of the season.
“Six months of our hard labour in the tobacco fields, our fate is being negotiated by someone else in the auction floors as we are not allowed to get inside because [of] the prevailing Covid-19 regulations,” 27-year-old Jairos Mufudzi tells The Africa Report.
Farmers get money on the official bank rate while goods are
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