By Chimwemwe Mangazi:
Tobacco Commission (TC), regulator of the tobacco industry in the country, has said it would not uplift quotas until all growers sell off their tobacco.
Uplift is an extra volume of tobacco that farmers are allowed to sell if they produced beyond their allocated quotas.
TC Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala, said the stance was aimed at protecting small-scale farmers.
He said the move also intend to bar vendors, who smuggle tobacco from neighbouring countries, from entering the system.
“We are not allowing any uplifts until we have made sure that our growers have taken their crop to the market because last year dobadobas (vendors) pushed their tobacco faster than growers.Advertisement
“We will offer uplifts when we are satisfied that at least 75 percent of our farmers have pushed in their tobacco,” Sadala said.
He said, in line with the new Tobacco Act, the commission was mandated to penalise anyone reported to have produced beyond their given quotas.
Meanwhile, 44,767,897 kilogrammes (kg) of tobacco have been sold at an average price of $1.40, realising $62,888,800.25.
However, the volume traded is 28 percent lower than the 62,031,268 kg sold in the first seven weeks last season.
The earnings are 37 percent less than $99,953,575.66 realised during the same period last year.
The average price is 13 percent lower than last year’s $1.61.
Sadala said the trend was expected as, last year, buyers were scrambling for the leaf.