By John Tembo
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa has assured tobacco growers that government would uplift the production quota in order to meet the estimated demand of 149,560,000 kilogrammes.
He said this during a press briefing at the Central Office Information (COI) in Blantyre that as of week 19, the country had managed to sell 147,223,032 kilogrammes of all four tobacco selling floors against the required demand by the buyers of 149,560,000 kilogrammes.
Nankhumwa noted that as the 2019 Tobacco Marketing Season is going to an end, there has been a decrease in the flow of tobacco at the selling floors hence the need to uplift the production quota to meet the remaining 2,337,000 kilogrammes.
“I have received reports that some growers are unable to bring their tobacco to the selling floors because their production quotas have been exhausted. It is estimated that there might be about 2,400,000 kilogrammes of tobacco country wide pending production quota uplifts.
“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,” he said.
Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) Chief Executive Officer, Kayisi Sadala said all bonafide growers who produced tobacco beyond their allocated quotas by more than 10 per cent would have to apply for quota uplift at the commission.
“The commission in line with the government directives will look at that application and verify to make sure that the tobacco which is said to be in excess was indeed grown in that particular field,” he said.
Limbe, Chinkhoma and Mzuzu Auction Floors will close tobacco selling season on September 13, 2019 while Lilongwe is expected to close on September 18, 2019.-MANA