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Tobacco Commission speaks tough on tobacco Act

Tobacco Commission (TC) has said it will enforce all regulations stipulated in the new Tobacco Industry Act with full force this season despite resistance from some farmers.

Last year farmers protested implementation of a provision of the Act that demands that 75 percent of proceeds from excess tobacco be channeled to the commission.

It took the intervention of the Minister of Agriculture to waive the provision during the last tobacco marketing season.

A recent development has been a call from some farmer associations to waive Section 52 of the Act that recognises an association as a group of farmers with a membership base of 5,000 and above.

A statement released by the commission recently indicated that only five out of 24 clubs are qualified for registration.

The five are National Association of Smallholder Farmers in Malawi, Tama Farmers Trust, Phindu Tobacco Growers

Association, Farm Produce and Marketing Association and Mchikumbe Smallholder Farmers Association.

In an interview, TC Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala, said all the farmers that were in the failed groups will be assisted by the Commission to sell their tobacco.

“When there is change there is some level of resistance because other people were benefiting from the chaotic situation,” Sadala said.

Previously, associations with a membership base of at least 1,500 were recognised.

Sadala added that the waiver that was affected last year was understandable as the law was implemented in the middle of the season.

However, t h i s season, the commission expects all stakeholders to comply with the law.

Tobacco is Malawi’s major export crop.

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