According to Chief Executive Officer for Tobacco Control Commission, Kayisi Sadala, the last growing season saw some farmers failing to meet the set quotas, a situation that activated increased demand for the leaf.
“Looking back to 2015/2016 growing season tobacco had lower prices on the market because farmers over produced the leaf and people got discouraged to the point of growing maize and other legumes. This season, the expectation is that a lot of people will be tempted to grow more tobacco than other crops as tobacco farmers under produced during the last growing season. Under-production resulted in high demand for the leaf and this benefitted the farmers because the prices were so attractive,” said the TCC Chief Executive Officer.
The TCC boss however assured Malawians that there are measures that his office is putting in place to regulate the industry.
“As a regulator, currently, we are implementing various measures which include management systems and licensing farmers in line with the available demand for the gold leaf,” said Sadala.
Sadala also condemned the involvement of intermediate buyers on the market saying they disturb the marketing process.
“We have been struggling with the issue of intermediate tobacco buyers who come to register as if they have a land where they grow but in actual sense they buy from others.
To deal with that, we have introduced a pilot project effective this year aiming at verifying from the registered farmers if they really have a land to grow tobacco otherwise the intermediate buyers are negatively affecting the overall tobacco care and quality,” he added.
He also admitted that there are other issues that require urgent attention for the TCC calendar to match with the times.
“The bill in use currently was enacted probably in the 70s while a lot of things have changed within the industry. We need a new bill that will enhance operations of the industry in accordance with changes made,” said Sadala.