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Tobacco Control Commission courts media on tobacco marketing

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Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has asked the media in the country to help in sensitise farmers to the differences between contract farming and the traditional way of marketing tobacco.

TCC Chief Executive Officer, David Luka, made the appeal Wednesday during a media interface which was held at Kanengo in Lilongwe.

Luka, who emphasised that there is future in tobacco production, said there has been a great confusion among farmers between contract and auction farming a development that is affecting sales of tobacco.

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“What has to be understood is that we made it clear that farmers in contract (IPS) system have to produce tobacco not more than 80 percent and those on auction system should produce tobacco not more than 20 percent.

“However, what has been happening is that farmers particularly those on auction system have been producing tobacco beyond the allocated 20 percent which relatively resulted into an increase in the number of bales being rejected at the floors,” Luka said.

He said if everything was to be properly followed, there is a guarantee of a readily available market for the local market and export.

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Luka said TCC supports both IPS and auction trading without any bias for the betterment of all farmers in the country.

“We don’t favour either of the system. We are here to promote both IPS and auction [sales],” stressed Luka.

The TCC boss has since appealed to farmers in the country to understand that the average percentages in terms of production should not be a bone of contention.

Media Tobacco Network Executive Member, Arnold Mnelemba, assured TCC that journalists will work hard and ensure that disparities between the farming systems are well reported.

“We will always make sure that we report accurately and achieve objectivity in our work,” Mnelemba said.

Apart from reporting on IPS and auction tobacco farming systems, the media has also been asked to correctly and seriously report on issues of prices of tobacco on the market.

Malawi is an agro-based economy and tobacco contributes over 50 percent of the country’s foreign reserves. Unlike in 2016, this year, tobacco prices are above average.

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