Tobacco farmers cheered after the new electronic auction system began the auction of raw tobacco this week in the capital Harare. Many in Zimbabwe hope that this year’s harvest will help bolster the country’s economy. “Producers of tobacco are indeed our heroes. You are important to this economy. The foreign currency you produce is above $800 million (745 million euros) a year,” said Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya at the opening of the auction. However, this optimism was soon replaced by frustration and anger among the farmers. One of them was Bernard Mudapakati from Bindura, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Harare. Besides being unhappy with the starting price of less than $5 a kilo, he fears the price might drop further. “This is because the electronic system is alien to us farmers. We are seeing it for the first time. We were never told about it,” said Mudapakati. “As farmers, we have been asked to stand away from our tobacco so that we do not disturb buyers,” he added. High hopes Zimbabwe officials have projected that the country will produce 205 million kilograms (450 million pounds) of tobacco this year, three million more than what the… Read full this story
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