TIMB to ensure stakeholder safety as 2020 selling season starts amid COVID-19 pandemic

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  • Awareness campaigns to be carried out by Board and selling points
  • All flea markets and vendors around sale floors perimeter to be closed
  • Farmers encouraged to use decentralized sales floors

Harare – Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has issued a set of guidelines for the 2020 tobacco selling season to curb the spread of COVID-19 as the sales floor commence operations.

The 2020 tobacco selling season starts later than previously anticipated and the delay has been further extended by the national lockdown imposed by government as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19, a pandemic that has halted a number of business operations across the globe.

The Board will begin by carrying out an awareness campaign to notify all farmers and stakeholders of these guidelines and alert them to the threat of COVID-19 while all selling points are also to actively spearhead the awareness campaigns at their respective premises including displaying relevant posters and fliers.

TIMB will ensure the closure of and removal of all flea markets and vendors around the perimeter of auction and contract sales floors ahead of and during the 2020 Tobacco Marketing Season.

Farmers will not be allowed to deliver tobacco for sale more than once a week therefore all tobacco sales points will provide toll free phone numbers for booking and general communication and farmers shall be notified of their tentative selling time at the point of booking.

In addition, all tobacco merchants will provide to TIMB and to the relevant auction floor, a staff duty roaster a week in advance and only essential employees with clearly labelled name tags will be permitted access to the sales floor premises and sales areas.

Some of the measures to be implemented by the Board include the provision of isolation facilities at each selling point, ensuring that all suspected cases of the virus are treated as such, the provision of full body sanitizing facilities, testing of all stakeholders among others.

Tobacco contractors operating decentralized sales points must encourage their farmers to make use of these facilities so as to minimize the numbers of farmers coming to Harare.

Furthermore, nominated TIMB registered grower representatives at the floors shall make decisions on behalf of the absent grower as not all growers shall be allowed to attend sales for instance those with less than a 100 bales per sale.

Farmers will also not be permitted to sleep over at the sales points and under no circumstances will sales floors offer overnight accommodation to farmers.

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