Mutharika concedes there is no hope in tobacco

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President Peter Mutharika has appealed to all tobacco farmers to diversify into other profitable ventures with income they get from tobacco to avoid the pinch of the global campaign against tobacco.

The Malawi leader said this on Tuesday during the opening of the 2017 tobacco marketing season at Lilongwe Auction Floors in Lilongwe.

He encouraged farmers to grow other crops and start businesses to increase sources of income.

Peter Mutharika

Mutharika admits hope is lost in the tobacco business.

“I would be pleased to see tobacco farmers growing other crops with tobacco, keeping livestock and even engaging in other business ventures,” said Mutharika.

The president however said that it is pleasing that the Tobacco Control Commission has developed a standard contract (TCC) for the integrated production system which defines the minimum terms and conditions of the contract between the buyer and the farmer in order to address weaknesses in the previous contracts.

He said he believes that such a move will make sure that a farmer is able to get what he toiled for.

Mutharika however decried failure of farmers to graduate from their dependency on loans.

“It is unfortunate that I am receiving reports that tobacco farmers are getting increasingly indebted to micro financing institutions for the rest of their lives which is unethical and unfair,” Mutharika said.

Meanwhile, the president has called upon officials in the ministry of agriculture to work together with the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) to put in place mechanisms that will help farmers to grow out of debts and become self-reliant.

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