Chakwera urges Tobacco stakeholders to work in harmony


Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has urged tobacco stakeholders in the country to continue working together in harmony to create a vibrant industry.

The state president made the remarks on Wednesday during an engagement with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Tobacco Processors Association, at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.

In his speech, the Malawi leader advised the stakeholders to maintain sanity in the industry by developing quick solutions every time they are faced with challenges.

Chakwera also encouraged them to handle challenges with maturity and urgency to avoid putting spanners in their service delivery.

“Let us continue the engagement and the collaboration. I however appeal to tobacco buyers to ensure that farmers reap the rewards of their hard work,” he explained

He further urged tobacco farmers to do the right thing by growing high-quality tobacco to get the best from buyers.

“We can’t continue producing low-quality leaf and then expect to get the best from buyers. There is no need for the president standing on the podium to castigate anybody. We just have to do the right thing,” he said.

He also challenged the industry players to ask themselves why the country continues to struggle with forex issues, even when the tobacco season is over.

“We talk of Tobacco as a forex earner, but after the season is over, you don’t see the forex,” said the president.

Minister of Agriculture, Sam Kawale, assured the gathering that his ministry is working around the clock to deal with illegal cross–border trading of tobacco.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Tobacco Commission, Evans Chilumpha, commended the president for creating a cordial working relationship in the industry, due to his open-door policy.

Chilumpha hailed Chakwera for assenting to the Tobacco Industry Act, saying the move will go a long way in resolving some of the sticky issues in the industry.

On his part, Limbani Kakhome, Chairperson of the Tobacco Processors Association asked the government to intensify security to deal with illegal cross-border tobacco trading.

He also asked the government to intensify efforts to ensure that people who do not grow tobacco are barred from participating in the business.

“Let me also ask the government to control over supply of the crop on the market to avoid a price crash,” he emphasized.


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