ZIMPOST is in discussion with the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) over a deal for the company to be allowed to distribute agricultural inputs from various suppliers to tobacco farmers across the country.
Last year, the quasi-governmental institution struck a partnership with TIMB to offer transport services to carry tobacco from different parts of the country to tobacco auction floors.
In an emailed response to questions from The NewsHawks, Zimpost’s acting postmaster-general Isaac Muchokomori said the partnership with the TIMB was still active and last year they managed to carry a total of 4 176 bales, translating to a gross weight of 375 840 kilogrammes.
“In 2021, due to the decentralisation of auction floors, Zimpost has not been able to match the 2020 volumes. Engagements are currently in progress with the TIMB for the distribution of farming inputs to tobacco farmers from the various suppliers to the farms across Zimbabwe,” he said.
The 2021 tobacco marketing season ended this week, with final deliveries made on July 13, but contract floors will continue until further notice. The TIMB said clean-up sales will be conducted in August.
The 2021 tobacco marketing season kicked off on 7 April, while contract sales opened the following day.
Throughout the season, high volumes of tobacco have been sold at the contract floors, while auction floors recorded low volumes.
As of 7 July, farmers had sold 183.7 million kilogrammes worth US$507 million, an increase from last year’s figure of US$391m earned from the sale of 158 million kilogrammes of the crop.
Meanwhile, Muchokomori said Zimpost was engaging the ministry of Health and Child Care and its affiliates to provide health-related logistics and last-mile delivery of Covid-19 vaccines and vaccine-related non-cold chain equipment under the Post4Health Project.
“This initiative is aimed at leveraging and mobilising the entire Zimpost network for the last mile of Covid-19 vaccines, medicines, PPEs (personal protective equipment), blood coupons, results, vaccination cards, payment for village health workers, training and awareness programmes through the community information centres (CICs), anywhere in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“This includes the delivery of provisions in the wider vaccine ecosystem, health-related logistics and last-mile delivery of vaccine distribution, or vaccine-related non-cold chain equipment such as syringe units, saline solutions, medical reagents and injection equipment and necessary medical consumables and equipment, kits, material and biologicals: as well as advocacy, campaign and mass communication materials to increase health awareness.”