15 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Tobacco Auction Floors Upgrade Payment Systems

Farmers have more reason to smile this tobacco selling season and no more need to smile all the way to the banks either.

This is because tobacco floors have upgraded their payment systems to avert inconveniences during this year's marketing season.

Boka Tobacco Auctio Floors, Tobacco Sales Floors, Premier and Northern Tobacco floors are offering various banking facilities to ease congestion and offer security options to farmers.

Boka Auction Floors director of operations Moses Bias said the company had innovated the cheque payment method to ensure that cheques were interfaced with the bank to verify their authenticity.

"We will run a cheque schedule from our office and transmit it electronically to all banks we are dealing with and the banks will know what to expect in terms of payment. They will not accept anything not in the schedule," said Bias.

Bias said the old in-house manual cheque system where hard copies were issued to growers was open to manipulation and counterfeiting.

Boka, who are planning to use EcoCash as a payment method, have seven banks offering services to farmers and are still negotiating with others.

Northern Tobacco managing director Glen Young said more contract farmers this year were adopting the use of the MBCA debit card usable at Zimswitch ATM outlets and point of sale systems.

"Because of its flexibility, it is a special extra service to growers who don't want to move with cash always," said Young. "We are looking forward to the use of EcoCash by farmers."

Tobacco Sales Floor MD James Mutambanesango said his company had added FBC and CBZ to the list of six banks which were servicing last year to avert congestion and inconvenience to farmers by ensuring cash availability.

"Our condition for the banks is that they come here when they have money that is required," Mutambanesango said.

Premier Tobacco has added Metbank to its traditional banks --Standard Chartered and NMB.

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