Chakwera says Tobacco farmers vital to Malawi’s economic growth

By Cedric Nkungula

President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera says Tobacco farmers are key stakeholders to Malawi economy because they help in generating the much – needed forex into the country.

Speaking at the opening of 2024 Tobacco marketing season at Chinkhoma Selling Floor in Kasungu on Monday, President Chakwera called on Malawians to be thankful to Tobacco farmers for the vital role that they play in supporting the economic growth of the country.

The Malawi leader said the country should look at ways and means of empowering the Tobacco farmers in order to realize Vision Malawi 2063 Agenda.

“To have more forex, we need to give more support to our Tobacco farmers because they are the ones that bring in more forex,” he added.

“Let us avoid unnecessary talk, let us get to work to ensure availability of forex in the country.”

He said his administration is working tiressly to ensure that farmers have access to modern farming equipment.

On this note, President Chakwera revealed that government has finilised negotiations with a foreign company to start leasing out modern tractors to Tobacco farmers starting from next month.

The president also hailed the good working relationship that exist between government and the Tobacco buyers.

“The good working relationship will ensure that our Tobacco farmers go back home smiling at the end of a market day,” he said.

President Chakwera has since directed law enforcers to deal with anyone found smuggling the Malawi leaf to the neighboring countries.

“I will not tolerate this trend. I urge the Police to arrest all perpetrators of this practice,” he said.

Speaking earlier, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Secretary General Eisenhower Mkaka called on government to continue engaging the Tobacco farmers to offer improved prices for the leaf as a remedy to illegal cross boarder trading of Tobacco.

Minister of Agriculture Sam Dalitso Kawale thanked President Chakwera for changing laws that impinged on both buyers and sellers in the country.

He also thanked the president for facilitating that government and buyers work together in harmony and that if there are challenges, they should sit down and discuss amicably.

Chairperson of Tobacco Commission Dr. Godfrey Chapola thanked Chakwera administration for showing a lot of commitment to improve the Tobacco industry. 

Chapola also called on government to find ways of dealing with illegal cross borders Tobacco trading.

He then donated K10 million to Presidential Charity Initiative to help restore the lives of Malawians that are suffering from the effects of natural disasters.

In his speech, Auction Holdings Limited (AHL) Chairperson Dan Makata said his institution is geared to ensure that farmers sell their Tobacco this year without glitches.

“We are urging all farmers to bring quality graded leaf to the auction because we are more than ready to ensure that they sell their Tobacco without any problems,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of Member of Parliament for the area, Ken Kandodo thanked President Chakwera for the various development projects taking place in Kasungu.

He also praised Chakwera for staying strong despite facing a myriad of challenges since he assumed the seat of power.

“We also thank you for the timely distribution of Affordable Input Programme (AIP) however, we would like to ask you to increase the number of beneficiaries,” he said.

Senior Chief Njombwa hailed President Chakwera for living up to his word to ensure that Kasungu has modern road network.

He also thanked the president for timely distribution of relief maize and flour to hunger-stricken families in the area.

Layisoni Kasangazi a farmer thanked Chakwera for removing taxes that were a thorn to Tobacco farmers.

He also thanked the president for advocating for improved prices as experienced at the start of this year’s Tobacco selling season.

He then presented a Cow to the president in appreciation of the good work he is doing in fighting for the welfare of Tobacco farmers.