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Parliament backs contract farming

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By Audrey Kapalamula:

The Joint parliamentary committee that analysed the Tobacco Bill has spoken against calls from stakeholders to abolish contract tobacco farming system in the country.

The committee has, however, proposed some changes to the system.

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The committee comprises the Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Legal Affairs, Trade and Industry, Commissions and Statutory Corporation, Health and Natural resources and Climate Change committees.

Chairperson of the Committee, Joseph Chidanti Malunga, told the Parliament that the contract farming should be retained as it supports farmers who cannot afford to produce using own resources.

Malunga, however, said there is need to put in place clear conditions of the contract farming system.

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“In this way, growers would be informed of the expected deductions that will be made from proceeds of their tobacco sales and they can cross-check if correct deductions have been made,” Malunga said

He further said contract farming provides market guarantee for farmers, rating it as the most preferred system among international buyers.

The committee has also highlighted that the non-funded contract farming should be retained as it exists in practice.

The report has also recommended that no tobacco should be grown under quota system so that the market can be left open.

The joint committee has also recommended that the bill should provide an institution that should provide research and training in the tobacco industry.

The house is yet to discuss the report.

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