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Tobacco Control Commission to use Global Positioning System to register farmers

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The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has revealed plans to introduce Global Positioning System (GPS) to locate physical addresses of tobacco farms in the country in a quest to do away with intermediate buyers.

TCC has said by adopting the GPS technology, the commission will be able to control and determine the amount of tobacco that will be produced in a year and protect local farmers from exploitation.

The system is currently being tried in Lilongwe, Mchinji, Dowa and Ntchisi, where over 100 farmers and their farms have been registered.

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The system records pictures and geographical position of the farms using latitude and longitude coordinates.

TCC acting Chief Executive Officer, David Luka, said the development will also help improve compliance as many of the intermediate buyers are the ones that bring confusion in the sector.

“We are developing a new software on the same and we will be recording the details on the new farmer registration system so that when we are registering the farmer, we should know details about his farm,” Luka said.

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He was quick to say that proper consultations with all stakeholders in the industry will follow before the new system is rolled out.

There have been speculations on whether the system will bring significant impact in the industry with some critics describing it as a way of plundering resources at the commission.

Luka said that the resistance is coming because not many people understand the concept but will be convinced once the system is up and running.

“It is the only way to identify the right growers because what is happening now, is that we are operating on trust that the growers who come to register with us indeed have farms but when we register them using this system, we will be able to enforce regulations that are already in place,” Luka said.

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