Tobacco Commission warns farmers, vendors on illegal tobacco trading
Tobacco Commission (TC) has warned farmers to desist from selling tobacco to middlemen and vendors or risk facing the wrath of the law.
This caution comes ahead of opening of the 2020 tobacco selling season.
TC Corporate and Business Development Manager, Hellings Nasoni, said the commission is this season enforcing laws and regulations stipulated in the Tobacco Act of 2019.
He said under the new law, farmers are not allowed to sell their tobacco outside the country.
“We have laws in the country such as Section 67 (1) which allows those with licenses only to buy tobacco whereas section 78 (1) talks about selling tobacco in designated markets and section 96 deters farmers to export tobacco without permits,” Nasoni said.
According to Nasoni, five vendors were punished across the country last year for buying tobacco without certification.
In an earlier interview, TC Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala, said such regulations are meant to protect farmers.
He said the laws would also help bring sanity to the industry.
Tobacco remains the country’s major foreign exchange earner.
The industry is, however, facing pressure following the World Health Organisation’s anti-smoking campaign which has seen earnings from the leaf declining in the past years.
During the 2019 season, Malawi sold about 165.6 million kilogrammes of all types of tobacco, realising $237 million at an average price of $1.43.