President Arthur Peter Mutharika has called for good prices during the 2018 tobacco marketing season so that tobacco farmers should make profits.
Mutharika made the remarks at Lilongwe Auction Floors during the opening of 2018 tobacco market.
According to Mutharika, buyers must buy tobacco at good prices so that farmers should earn more money and graduate from dependence on loans.
Malawi’s first citizen also noted that tobacco is still the backbone of Malawi’s economy and welfare of farmers should be prioritised.
“Tobacco remains a strategic crop of the country. When this industry grows, we all win.
“Farmers are very important to this country. Let’s put dignity to farming. And let’s add technology and value addition to farming. Stop exploitation of the farmers,” Mutharika said.
He added that all technical work on the Tobacco Bill is ready and it will be tabled in Parliament in June.
Speaking at the same function, Chairperson of Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) Inkosi Ya Makosi M’mbelwa said the quality of tobacco has improved this year.
On his part, Minister of Agriculture Joseph Mwanamvekha urged farmers to refrain from unfair marketing practices.
During the function, Mutharika also officially opened TCC offices.
In 2018, about 149 million kilograms of tobacco is expected to be taken to auction floors across the country.
Chinkhoma Auction Floors in Kasungu opens tomorrow, while Limbe Auction Floors in Blantyre opens on April 16.The Mzuzu Auction Floors opens on April 23.
Additional reporting by Martha Chikoti.