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JTI contract growers upbeat on tobacco output, earnings

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Contracted tobacco growers under JTI Leaf Malawi in Mzimba and Rumphi district have expressed optimism for an increased output and quality of the leaf currently still in the field.

Some of the farmers visited in the northern region last week say with the current rainfall pattern, there is hope for a better leaf in the year despite the challenges faced at the beginning of the season.

During a tour of fields in the region, it was observed that the outlook for the crop among smallholder growers looks promising, with healthy and lush green looking tobacco fields.

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One of the JTI contracted farmers, Happy Chirambo of Golongo Club in Traditional Authority Chikulamayembe’s area in Rumphi district, said he was happy with his crop.

“If the rainfall pattern continues, I could have a better crop this year than last year. And that should attract good prices,” he said.

Concurring with Chirambo, another farmer from Mzimba Willard Soko said he also anticipates production to double this season as the leaf is so far of good quality.

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He said with technical support from JTI, there has been a great improvement in terms of the quality of the leaf as the farmers have been following modern production practices.

“We have been given good support by the company,” said Soko.

JTI officials in the two districts said preliminary results of the first crop estimate for JTI sponsored tobacco in the area shows prospects of doubling production from last year.

“There was a dry spell at some point but the rate is high survival and the quality of the leaf is now impressive,’ said Themba Madise, lead field supervisor in Mzimba North East.

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