Malawi: Chakwera Orders Agriculture Ministry, Tobacco Control Commission to Find More Tobacco Buyers

Griffins Kaliza in his tobacco farm in Malawi's central Mchinji dsitrict.
21 April 2021

Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera has ordered Ministry of Agriculture and Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) to find more Tobacco buyers.

Speaking when he presided over the opening of this year's tobacco Marketing season at Kanengo Auction Floors, Chakwera, said: "Find more new buyers for tobacco. This will increase competition and deal with monopoly amongst the few existing Tobacco buyers."

President Chakwera who said he was pleased with the quality of this year's tobacco added:

"The Ministry of Agriculture should work with the Tobacco Commission on ways of attracting more buyers beyond the nine we currently have.

That way there is more competition and less monopoly among buyers, because monopoly is one of the factors that contributes to the disempowerment of the farmers power."

Chakwera further explained that because there is very little or no competition among the buyers the Malawian tobacco farmers do not get fair prices on their produces as the buyers dictate the market.

"This an this is an injustice we must correct. I want the Minister of Agriculture to bring industry players together and come up with a blueprint that will cure this imbalance once and for all," said Chakwera.

Chakwera lamented that it is sad that tobacco farmers do not have no any say over their produce on the tobacco market.

"The first harsh reality is the gross imbalance in bargaining power between tobacco farmers and other industry players.

"As far as I am concerned, farmers do not have enough of a say in what happens with their produce, what price it is sold at, and what markets it is supplied to," said the president.

Added Chakwera: "It must be remembered that the farmer is responsible for production, and in any industry that is healthy, producers have a lot of bargaining power."

Chakwera further said, as a starting point, he want a permanent solution to the malpractice by some stakeholders of charging farmers.

"The bad behaviour towards farmers must stop, because any senseless levies imposed on farmers, increase the cost of production and decrease the farmer's return," warned Chakwera.

Chakwera said there is no way few individuals could think of milking tobacco industry, milk the system and boost profits at the expense of the farmers.

"We will not tolerate anyone taking advantage of the poor farmers and the struggling industry in order to make make profits," said president Chakwera.

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