JTI targets 17,000 people in food relief programme
One of Malawi’s tobacco buyers, JTI Leaf has launched a national drought relief programme that will see 17, 000 Malawians receiving food items in the next three months.
Speaking during the launch of the programme at Liwinga Primary School in TA Kalolo’s area in Lilongwe, JTI Leaf Malawi managing director Fries Vanneste said his company decided to reach out to needy families following the severity of the food situation Malawi.
“JTI is out in the field every day with its growers and we have seen first-hand the severity of the situation,” said Vanneste.
He said almost 3,500 households in the communities where the company has contracted farmers across the country are facing food shortages.
Vanneste disclosed that the drought relief programme that will cost JTI about US$300, 000 will see JTI contracted growers as well as communities around 11 districts receiving 50kgs of maize, 10kgs pulses and two litres of vegetables oil every month.
The relief items will be provided through local aid agency like Red Cross, he said.
“A long-term partnership is critical to our success in both good and bad times,” said Vanneste. “As partners we genuinely care about you and your families and that’s why we have set up this scheme.”
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Agriculture Allan Chiyembekeza hailed JTI for the relief efforts which he said will benefit not only JTI contracted growers but also communities as a whole.
“I’m reliably informed that for every single grower receiving this food aid, three other members of the community who are not tobacco growers will also benefit. This is impressive and attests to the fact that this company has the welfare of people at heart,” said Chiyembekeza.
He said the food relief will reduce the likelihood of growers selling their tobacco to vendors before the market opens.
In 2015, JTI also responded to the devastating floods through a donation of emergency provisions such as tents and food to affected people across the country.