Chakwera urgers Farmers to grow high quality tobacco to get the best from buyers

By Staff Reporter

President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera has urged tobacco stakeholders in the country to continue working together in harmony to create a vibrant industry.

Chakwera made the remarks today during an engagement with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Tobacco Processors Association, at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.

In his speech, the Malawi leader advised the stakeholders to maintain sanity in the industry by developing quick solutions every time they are faced with challenges.

“Whenever faced with challenges, let’s handle them quickly. Let us continue the engagement, the collaboration and avoid putting spanners in the works,” he said.

Chakwera also appealed to tobacco buyers to ensure that farmers reap the rewards of their hard work.

President Chakwera further urged tobacco farmers to do the right thing by growing high quality tobacco in order to get the best from buyers.

“We can’t continue producing low quality leaf and then expect to get the best from buyers. There is no need for the president standing on the podium to castigate anybody. We just have to do the right thing,” he said.

He also challenged the industry players to ask themselves why the country continues to struggle with forex issues, even when the tobacco season is over.

“We talk of Tobacco as a forex earner, but after the season is over, you don’t see the forex,” said the president.

Minister of Agriculture, Sam Kawale, assured the gathering that his ministry is working around the clock to deal with illegal cross – border trading of tobacco.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Tobacco Commission, Evans Chilumpha, commended the president for creating a cordial working relationship in the industry, due to his open-door policy.

Chilumpha hailed President Chakwera for assenting to the Tobacco Industry Act, saying the move will go a long way in resolving some of the sticky issues in the industry.

On his part, Limbani Kakhome, Chairperson of Tobacco Processors Association asked government to intensify security to deal with illegal cross-boarder tobacco trading.

He also asked government to intensify efforts to ensure that people who do not grow tobacco are barred from participating in the business.

“Let me also ask government to control over supply of the crop on the market to avoid price crash,” he emphasized.