Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has assured all tobacco farmers in the country that no grower will remain with unsold tobacco by the time tobacco marketing season closes.
Minister responsible, Kondwani Nankhumwa, made the assurance when speaking at a press briefing in Blantyre on the current situation in all Malawi’s tobacco markets.
Nankhumwa acknowledged having received reports that some growers are unable to bring their tobacco to the auction floors because their production quotas have been exhausted a development he said farmers should not panic with.
He said it is estimated that there might be about two million four hundred thousand (2,400,000) kilograms of unsold tobacco countrywide pending production quota uplifts.
The minister further said apart from applying quota uplifts, government will also consider extending days of closing the markets where Limbe, Chinkhoma and Mzuzu Floors are expected to close on 13th September, while Lilongwe is expected to close on 18th September this year.
“I have received reports that some growers are unable to bring their tobacco to the selling floors because their production quotas have been exhausted. In this regard, it is estimated that there might be about two million four hundred thousand (2,400,000) kilograms of tobacco country wide pending production quota uplifts.
“I would like to inform you that there is a provision in the Tobacco Industry Act which the Tobacco Commission uses to effect quota uplifts. I wish to assure all tobacco growers that are affected by this problem that they will be assisted.” Said Nankhumwa.
He, however, said it should be noted that this quota uplift is a management procedure whereby the original quotas allocated to growers both on Auction and on Contract are increased by a margin exceeding the margin of ten percent (10%) which is normally allowed.
The minister then advised all bonafide growers who produced tobacco beyond their allocated quotas by more than ten percent (10%) to go to Tobacco Commission and make an application for an uplift.