Poor and expensive products are making Zimbabwe uncompetitive on the international markets and as a result, foreign currency generation capability has dwindled. However, Zimbabwe has been overly reliant on tobacco as its major foreign currency cash cow. This has forced The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to craft policies that encourage and support tobacco farmers.
But lately, a problem has been reported that can likely dissuade tobacco farmers. It has been reported that tobacco farmers are complaining about delays in the processing of their payments at auction floors.
“The selling season has been going on well and farmers have not had problems with the prices being offered by buyers. The problem is the payment system, which is proving to be slow. In this day and age of improved technology we should not be experiencing such problems,” Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union President Mr Wonder Chabikwa said.
Fintech is growing exponentially in Zimbabwe, so does the technology behind payment processing. It’s hardly believable that payment processing is delaying to the point of making farmers camp overnight at auction floors. Meaning that payment processing system is going down for hours.
Evidently, banks are failing to configure their systems to handle the demand of farmers. Or perhaps the farmer’s need for cash is encouraging banks to deliberately slow down the processing of payments since it would give them enough time to gather the required cash amid the rampant cash shortages. One farmer pointed out that;
“We are failing to get the $300 in one transaction,” and “At times we have to do two transactions over two days and in some instances, the cash is not available altogether, which causes further delays.”
But banks can avoid having to pay in cash to farmers if they encourage the farmers to start adopting paperless banking so that instead of paying them in cash they can pay them through bank transfers.
Mobile banking platforms like OneMoney, Netone, and Ecocash can be heavily promoted to the farmers to make the transition from cash-based transactions into paperless transactions convenient in rural areas.
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