Tobacco Commission licenses five growers associations

Written by  Sam Phiri

Tobacco Commission, a regulatory body,  has licensed five growers associations to operate in the 2020 tobacco growing season.

Even smallholder tobacco farmers will be protected despite not belonging to associations. Even smallholder tobacco farmers will be protected despite not belonging to associations.

 They are National Smallholder Farmers Association (NASFAM), TAMA Farmers Trust, Phindu Tobacco Growers Association, Farm Produce and Marketing Association (FPMA) and Mchikumbe Smallholder Farmers Associations (MSFA).


They have been licensed having fulfilled the requirements as stipulated in the Tobacco Industry Act of 2019 among them being having a registered grower membership base of not less than 5,000 and are able to have annual general meetings.


Speaking to MBC, TC's Chief Executive Officer Kayisi Sadala says the selection is in line with section 52 of the Tobacco Industry Act of 2019. 


“This law empowers us to select those associations which have fulfilled the requirements, so after a thorough check those have qualified to have passed the test,” said Sadala.


He said farmers who are under associations that have not been successful will have to go to the Commission's offices for assistance.


“Its not that their door has been shut no, we have district offices across the country where they can go and seek help on how they can still sell their tobacco, so in essence we will represent them as their grower’s body.”  


Sadala reminded all tobacco growers on both contract and non contract farming that it's not mandatory to belong to a growers association. 


Growers are to choose to belong to an association or not according to section 53 (2) of the Tobacco Industry Act of 2019.


 "As such, no one should mislead growers that they won't be served by the Commission if they are not a member of a grower association" he said. 


The 5 successful growers associations have been selected out of 40 associations.


Tobacco, though facing the global anti-smoking lobby, remains the country’s top foreign exchange earner as Government efforts are geared towards diversification from the cash crop.


Malawi earns on average $300 million annually from tobacco.

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