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JTI for sustainable tobacco production

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One of the country’s tobacco buying companies, JTI, says Malawi needs to adopt ways of growing tobacco sustainably if the green gold is to remain the country’s top foreign exchange earner.

JTI Director of Corporate Affairs Harold Msusa was speaking on the sidelines of a media training workshop the company organised for business reporters in Lilongwe.

Msusa said though tobacco continues to face a number of challenges on the international market, growing it sustainably could help Malawi to continue reaping more from the crop.

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He said key to sustainable growing of tobacco could be ensuring that the country controls production by ensuring that it produces according to demand.

Msusa added that ensuring that the leaf produced is also of high quality could also be critical in ensuring sustainability of the crop.

“We need to ensure that we pay close attention to detail in the production of the green gold so that we produce the best leaf.

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“This is where issues of the integrated production system (IPS) become very critical in ensuring that the farmer produces exactly the quality the buyers want,” Msusa said.

He added that managing the perception of the industry by ensuring that tobacco produced is free from child labour, in addition to ensuring that the crop does not contain non-tobacco related materials, could be crucial in securing a better future for the industry.

As part of the training, business reporters from various media houses were taken on a tour of the Lilongwe Auction Floors where they appreciated how tobacco sales are progressing.

As at the close of business on Friday, the country had realised a total of $67.3 million from 36,583,172 kilogrammes of tobacco sold at an average price of $1.84/kg.

AHL Corporate Affairs Manager Mark Ndipita told reporters on Friday that the market is progressing relatively well this year as compared to last year.

He said both volumes and prices are better this year as compared to last year.

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