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Tobacco industry ready for European Union laws

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Joseph Chidanti Malunga

Players in the tobacco supply chain say they are keen to operate within frameworks of the European Union (EU) Supply Chain Due Diligence law aimed at protecting human rights and the environment.

The laws aim at ending tenancy, promoting decent working conditions and ending child labour and will ban exports to Europe of agricultural produce cultivated under human rights violations.

One of the tobacco buyers, Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Leaf Malawi, which buy on contract only, says the firm has already been implementing measures that protect human rights.

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JTI Leaf Malawi Corporate Affairs and Communications Director Limbani Kakhome said the firm was creating awareness on the law among farmers it works with.

“We have also produced labour registered books that are going to help farmers have contracts with workers. They are paying wages according to the Employment Act and are regulating hours of work, among other things,” he said.

The company has since stopped purchasing tobacco from auction indicating that it is hard to trace such produce.

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Tobacco Commission Chief Executive Officer Joseph Chidanti Malunga said the commission was working tirelessly to safeguard the rights of farm workers.

“We are amending the law so that, if someone violets humans rights in tobacco farming, they should be punished. The time of violating human rights is over,” he said.

In 2019, the United States announced a ban of tobacco imports from Malawi over child labour allegations.

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