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Firm offers leaf grading services

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By Feston Malekezo:

KALOBEKAMO—We come in and help

TIL, a subsidiary of AHL Group, has moved to help tobacco farmers systematically manage their tobacco and grading to address the challenge of high rejection at the auction floors.

TIL, which operates at the Mzuzu Auction Floors, has established a grading centre at Kabwafu Mini Floors in Mzimba District.

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As of Wednesday, rejection rate stood at 27 percent across all types of tobacco.

TIL Assistant Manager for Mzuzu, Moffat Kalobekamo, said, apart from handling and aggregating rejected tobacco, the firm also distributes hessian to farmers.

“What happens is that farmers come from very remote areas—for example, Euthini in Mzimba or all the way from Chitipa—to the Mzuzu Floors. It is very costly to get back their bales if they are rejected.

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“So we come in and help in handling the bales. Secondly, we are taking hessian closer to the farmers for easy access,” he said.

Kalobekamo said farmers can access their services after filling forms at the Tobacco Commission (TC).

One of the farmers in Mzimba District, Deus Nyondo, hailed the firm, saying it would help reducing transportation costs.

“It was a challenge for us to buy hessian because it was only accessible at Mpherembe which is over 14 kilometres from here [Kabwafu]. So you know, with the bad road network, we cycle and it is not easy.

And the coming in of the grading services is a plus to us because we will save a lot,” he said.

TIL is operating at Chinkhoma Auction Floors in Kasungu District, Lilongwe Auction Floors and Limbe Auction Floors.

Apart from Kabwafu, other tobacco hotspots in the Northern Region include Mbalachanda, Mpherembe and Euthini TC figures show that, in five weeks, tobacco has raked in $37.79 million (about K27 billion) compared to $39.83 million (about K28 billion) generated last year, which is 30 percent lower.

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