Don’t use child labour—AHL
AHL Tobacco Sales has urged tobacco growers in the country not to use child labour when producing the crop.
AHL Communications Manager, Tereza Ndanga, was speaking at Mitundu in Lilongwe on Wednesday when the firm toured some tobacco farmers in the area.
Ndanga said the use of child labour in tobacco has painted a bad picture of Malawi’s tobacco on the international market.
“I urge you to pass the message to your fellow growers that child labour must not be tolerated in tobacco production. It is unacceptable,” Ndanga said.
In November last year, the US Government Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a Withhold Release Order on tobacco from Malawi over child and forced labour allegations, meaning shipments arriving in the US would be detained at the port of entry.
The protection order requires importers to prove that the tobacco is not produced under conditions which the US laws prohibit.
Ndanga further urged the growers to take good care of the crop from the field up to the market to attract better prices.
Tobacco was, last growing season, affected by weak prices due to, among other things, wrong projections that the country had produced too much of the crop.
Authorities had estimated that the country would produce over 200 million kilogrammes (kgs) of the green gold only for the country to produce just above 160 million kgs.
One of the growers, Azan Aliele, said production of the crop has been challenged by a twin problem of heavy rains and an armyworm attack.
Aliele expressed hope of improved prices this year due to an anticipated fall in production as some growers did not plant the crop this year due to weak prices in the last growing season.
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