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Tobacco Commission, Tama differ on farmers’ registration

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Joseph Chidanti Malunga

Tobacco Commission (TC) has extended the tobacco grower registration and licencing period to end October, citing growing interest among farmers.

But growers’ representative body, Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama)-Trust, believes the move is unnecessary.

The process started on June 28 and was supposed to conclude on September 30.

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A statement, signed by TC Chief Executive Officer Joseph Chidanti Malunga, indicates that the registration has been extended to respond to growing demand for the services at the regulatory body’s offices.

The commission further urges growers to register and produce compliant tobacco for the crop to be competitive on the global market.

“Our assessment shows that we will still have more tobacco growers seeking to get registered and licenced for the 2021-22 growing season, hence the extension and during this exercise, growers will not be required to pay any late registration penalties,” reads the statement.

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However, Tama-Trust President Abiel Kalima Banda said the reason for the extension should be to meet the required quota not growing interest.

Banda said interested farmers already registered as preparations for the season were under way.

“Farmers who want to cultivate tobacco this year have already bought the seed and have already registered,” he said.

Last season, tobacco demand was seen at 132 million kilogrammes (kg) against an output of 123.7 kg, an improvement from the preceding year’s 114 million kg.

The green gold raked in $197.1 million from $174.97 million realised during the preceding season.

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