ZIMPOST rescues tobacco farmers

Blessings Chidakwa
Zimpost has thrown tobacco farmers a lifeline after it struck a partnership with the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board to offer transport services to carry tobacco from different parts of the country to tobacco auction floors.

The parastatal is planning to leverage on it wide branch network to offer the service, which in turn will minimise the movement of farmers especially during the current Covid-19 lockdown.

Government recently allowed the re-opening of tobacco auction floors on condition that there will be minimum movement of farmers especially during the lockdown period.

The new service was announced by Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere after commissioning Zimpost’s PPEs last week.

Minister Muswere hailed Zimpost for adapting to change.

“I would like to commend Zimpost for adjusting this factory to fight against Covid-19 global pandemic by refocusing to the production of face masks for use not only by its staff but also for commercial purposes,” he said.

“Zimpost role in the transportation of tobacco from farms to the auction floor is also plausible especially during this period were intercity travelling is being curtailed as a strategy to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“It is heart-warming to note that as Zimpost as a state owned enterprise is taking the lead in the implementation of Government policies regarding the distribution of tobacco to the auction floors,” he said.

Zimpost Post Master General Sifundo Moyo expressed optimism that they would rise to the challenge.

“We anticipate that we should be able to carry all the tobacco. We have a number of other transporters that we are contracting work to, but whatever they are doing they are working in line with the standard that we have set,” he said.

“Zimpost has been in this business for close to a century and in terms of the distribution of parcels, mail, we are the best so we are imparting this knowledge to our contractors.”

On payments, Mr Moyo said their staff was busy still refining the arrangements so that all farmers benefit.

Zimpost Board Chairman Mr Kainet Moyo said they intervened after noticing that most tobacco farmers, particularly those in the rural areas were being taken advantage of by transporters.

“We started carrying tobacco some three weeks ago into Chinhoyi and we are now delivering into Harare and this will continue until the end of the season,” he said.

Meanwhile Mr Moyo said Zimpost is also planning to role out a courier service for medicines in Harare and Chitungwiza

“Once we have finalised on our IT program we should be able to reach anybody. In the next month or two we should be having vehicles in each location that distribute medication to people’s doorsteps. People simply have to go onto a portal, order their medication, pay and we pick it up and deliver to their door step,” he said