The Tobacco Association of Malawi (TAMA) has appealed to Malawi government to consider deploying Malawi Defence Soldiers (MDF) to all Malawi’s border posts to deal with illegal export and import of tobacco.
TAMA’s President Abiel Kalima Banda made the appeal on Saturday during the opening of Tobacco Farmers Annual Meetings and TAMA’s 90th Anniversary celebrations which was held at Sharpe Valley Depot in Ntcheu district.
Banda said tobacco smuggling is making Malawi government to lose billions of Forex hence the need for government to ‘seriously’ intervene to end the malpractice.
“Malawi is losing billions annually through tobacco smuggling. So we are appealing to the government to protect our golden leaf by deploying security agencies in all borders posts,” appealed Banda
Banda also asked government to negotiate with tobacco buyers to be buying tobacco at a fair and reasonable price saying farmers need to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
“We are all aware that producing tobacco is a hard labour but buyers do not recognize this farmers have been complaining for a long time now therefore we are asking government to negotiate with buyers to offer good prices,” said Banda while appealing to farmers not to sale their tobacco to vendors.
Controller of Agriculture Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Dr Alexander Bulilani who was the Guest of honor assured tobacco farmers across the country of good price this year.
“What happen last year with tobacco market was very disturbing but let me assure farmers that they will be fair price this year,” assured Dr. Bulilani
He also added: “Famers should also refrain from mixing tobacco with unrelated materials to reduce numbers of rejected tobacco at the auction floors.”
Tobacco Association of Malawi (TAMA), was founded in 1929 it became a registered trust in 1983 and changed its name from the latter to the former, according to www.tamalawi.com. (By Thumbiko Nyirongo)