Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Malawi says it is ready for the 2019 tobacco season which will be officially opened on 25th April.
Speaking at a press briefing, JTI Director for Corporate Affairs and Communications Limbani Kakhome said they are hopeful their contracted growers will deliver the best quality tobacco despite the unfavourable weather condition in some districts.
Kakhome added that they visited their growers and they are happy with the quality of the leaf both in the field and barns.
“As a company, we have provided training and extension services throughout the crop cycle which has helped us,” he explained.
He went on to say that as a way of ensuring utmost good quality leaf, the company has been holding grading clinics to imparts skills and knowledge to growers on how to properly grade their tobacco to eliminate Non-Tobacco Related Materials (NTRM) in tobacco bales.
According to Kakhome, the company expects growers to deliver within the range of 50% upper and 50% of lower stalk leaf positions.
In his remarks, Farmers Union of Malawi (FAM) Chief Executive Officer, Felix Thole said they are expecting minimum and fair prices which were set by government for farmers.
Thole said that farmers should provide recommended proportion of the crop and they hope that the farmers will abide by the instructions set by the buying companies to avoid a breach of contract.
He said farmers have started sending their products to Tobacco Control Commission in readiness for the season.
JTI is a leading International Tobacco which manufactures Cigarettes with operations in more than 130 countries. The company has been operating for 10 years.
Last year the company bought 174 Million tobacco but their expectation was to buy 134 Million from their farmers.
At the press briefing, the company did not disclose the amount of the tobacco it intends to buy this year.