Banana growers exploited by dealers

Banana growers in Rusitu valley in Chimanimani are being exploited by unscrupulous banana traders who buying the fruit at ridiculous prices for sale at higher prices in towns and cities.

A banana grower in Rusitu valley waiting to market his produce to the dealers.
A banana grower in Rusitu valley waiting to market his produce to the dealers.

The banana growers told The Zimbabwean last week that banana dealers from as far as Harare, Bulawayo and Beitbridge had besieged the area taking advantage of the farmers’ desperation for cash.

“We are being exploited by banana dealers who are offering to pay as low as $2 for a bunch of bananas. Most of the farmers are not able to transport their produce to the market because of bad roads and lack of transport. Some people are now taking advantage of problem by bringing their own transport and exploiting the farmers,” said Misheck Magobeya, a banana grower.

Most villagers were now forced to sell their bananas to the dealers, widely referred to as “magumaguma” because they desperately needed cash to pay for their children’s school fees as well as buy other basics, he said.

The chairperson of the Rusitu Banana Growers Association, Nhamo Hlabiso, said the farmers last week held an emergency meeting and resolved to pool their resources t and collectively market their produce, thus by-passing the dealers.

“We are currently working closely with a partner who has pledged to assist us to get value for our bananas. It pains us to see our produce being sold for a song after all the hard work we put into producing them,” said Hlabiso.

He said dealers were also buying other fruit such as pineapples at very low prices. Rusitu Valley in the Eastern Highlands is ideal for growing bananas and other tropical fruits.

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