JTI undecided on dumped tobacco

Post was last updated: July 24, 2018

BY CHIMWEMWE MANGAZI:

One of the country’s tobacco-buying companies, JTI Leaf Malawi, Monday failed to give government a solid commitment on whether it would buy the remaining tobacco from its contracted growers.

JTI last week angered some contracted growers in Lilongwe when it stopped buying the green gold from them without giving any reasons.

Despite an intervention on the matter by Minister of Agriculture Joseph Mwanamvekha, the company has not come out clear on whether it would purchase all the tobacco that its contracted farmers produced.

Mwanamvekha Monday met JTI officials in a bid to address the matter.

JTI Leaf Malawi Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs, Limbani Kakhome, however, said the meeting resolved that the company still have to review the volumes that it has bought against the contracts it gave out to farmers before a decision is made.

He was non-committal on prospects of the company resuming tobacco buying in the markets it has closed.

“Some of the tobacco that is coming through is way beyond the contracted volumes and also way beyond the contracted specifications, so, firstly, there is reconciliation that needs to be done, this was an ongoing process together with the TCC, we have been doing this from the Limbe, Chinkhoma and the Lilongwe auction floors.

“Once the reconciliation is finished, a determination will be made to see whether the contractual volumes and specifications are correct. If we find out that the tobacco is outside the specifications, a decision will be made on what needs to be done next together with the TCC and the ministry,” Kakhome said.

Centrally though, Mwanamvekha told journalists after the meeting that the company’s officials were committed to purchasing all the tobacco from its contracted farmers.

“They have assured us that they will buy the tobacco but after consulting. They have also told us that they cannot abandon their contracted farmers because it’s a contract and when it’s a contract they have to buy that tobacco,” Mwanamvekha said.

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