One of the country’s tobacco buying companies, JTI Leaf Malawi has written the Tobacco Commission (TC) to consider amending sections 45 (3) and 64(2) of the Tobacco Industry Act.
Section 45 (3) holds that “in case of funded contract farming, production of alternative crops maybe the term of the contract but the buyer shall not provide the inputs for the alternative crops.”
Section 64 (2) provides that “Under contract farming, a buyer shall have the responsibility of hiring and making payment for the transportation of tobacco from an estate to tobacco floors.”
During a recent virtual interface with the media, JTI Leaf Malawi Corporate Affairs and Communications Director, Limbani Kakhome, said the company would want to continue supporting farmers with inputs for alternative crops and maintain the status quo where transportation of tobacco to the market is handled by the farmers.
He however was quick to mention that the 2020 season was a success for the company, having bought more than 23 million Kilogrammes of burley tobacco, the only variety it sources, which they planned for.
“I would like to thank all our growers across Malawi for supplying us with high quality leaf. We used a scientific index to measure the quality of the leaf for this particular year.
“Our quality index this year was better than that of last year. We can see that contracted growers are continuously endeavouring to adhere to the agronomy advice and are upping their delivery of quality tobacco,” Kakhome said.
In a separate interview, TC Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala, said the review process has not commenced as yet.
“As you recall, there were some growers who petitioned Parliament to amend some sections of the Act. At an appropriate time I think Parliament will be consulting various stakeholders to solicit their views before taking any action on the current law,” Sadala said.
Recently, some farmer associations were advocating a waiver on section 52 of the Act which recognises an association as a group of farmers with a membership of not less than 5,000.
Last year, some farmers protested implementation of section 42 of the Act which provided that 75 percent of proceeds from excess tobacco will go to the TC as a penalty which was later amended to 50 percent of proceeds from excess tobacco goes to the Commission.
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