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What does the future have in store for me as a tobacco farmer or mukorokoza?

28 Jan 2019 at 07:27hrs | Views
Having been a tobacco farmer for the last three years and my young brother being an artisinal gold miner, mukorokoza for a longtime we have nothing to show from our exploits except that we are wallowing in poverty. Some are and had been enjoying the fruits of our Labour. Is this the way it should be for us?

In Zimbabwe tobacco and gold are top earners of foreign currency but the producers have not benefited from it. The fruit of their Labour is being enjoyed by those in government industry and some revered political elites. Yet the people earning the money are still languishing in poverty. They are being milked and the fruits of their Labour taken from them. They have nothing to show for the fruit of our Labour except poverty and more poverty.

Last year the much sought after foreign currency was taken by the reserve Bank and used to purchase fuel guzzlers for chiefs who have been used to whip us into the Zanu-PF way of doing things. The service chiefs in the military and police also benefited from this plunder and where allocated state of the art fuel guzzlers. Not to be left out Zanu-PF went to allocate every aspiring candidate with these vehicles that gobbled a lot of foreign currency. Rumors are awash that these vehicles are now being used against us the citizenry. Cases of human rights abuses reportedly to have happened during the past few days are being attributed to have been carried out by people using such vehicles. My fruit of Labour being abused and used to harm my fellow countrymen. It's a shame.

It is my belief that as the top earners of the foreign currency we should enjoy the benefits. The reserve bank has failed to do the great work of allocating this scarce resource. It has favored certain individuals and political parties at the expense of the tobacco farmers and makorokozas.

It is my belief that the government must stop controlling the distribution of foreign currency and let market forces determine the rate of foreign currency against their surrogate currency the bond note. It is true that by being adamant that the bond note is equivalent to the US dollar the government is lost and is single handedly killing the economy. I only see it as a ploy by government to rob from us poor tobacco farmers and makorokozas as they did last year. I sold my tobacco in US dollars and the buyers brought in US dollars to purchase my crop only to be told that bond note was equivalent to US dollars but some months down the line I'm then told through a misguided monetary policy that money in my account is not US dollar but RTGS or bond. This was daylight robbery and should we allow this to continue happening to us as foreign currency earners.

This Zimbabwean government is clearly acting like a pirate government that loots from its citizens without caring about how they would survive. With the money I earned in US dollars I could be buying my diabetes drugs but can't afford them because Mr Government stole my US dollars and gave me the useless RTGS. Pharmacies demand that I pay them in US dollars. Is it the way we have to live in our country? If the leaders fall sick they are flown outside the country for treatment but alas I'm to die because I cannot afford my diabetes drugs yet I earned US dollars. What a shame.

I implore the authorities to let those who produce foreign currency enjoy it rather than deprive them of their earnings. It is also necessary for them to listen to the voice of reason and introduce currency reforms. The current economic problem being faced by Zimbabwe are due to poor economic planning and are enchored on poor monetary policies.

Our president claims to be a listening president but in this regard he has remained a deaf president. It's either he doesn't care or is otherwise in complicity with the idea of depriving we the small fish of our hard earned money which in our cases is the foreign currency we earn.

In conclusion, we implore the government to consider the tobacco farmers and the makorokozas who earn the much needed foreign currency. They need to survive like them too. It's high time you smell the coffee and allow proper economics to work and avoid being an insensitive government. Accept currency reforms and allow the market to decide the value of your bond or demonities the bond note. Let farmers and gold miners live.

Henry Madiro is a tobacco farmer and a diabetic patient who health is being compromised by the the conversion of his US dollar account to a bond account yet his source of money was foreign currency.

Source - Henry Madiro
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