"Senseless levies imposed on farmers increase cost of production."
Barely days after President Dr Lazarus Chakwera sanctioned Tobacco Commission to look for new markets in order to increase competition, Serbia tobacco prospective buyers have already jetted into the country where they are discussing with Malawi government on deals on buying tobacco this season.
Speaking in Lilongwe where the prospective buyers met journalists to brief them on their mission, the Serbian team leader under the Rade Basta tobacco company, Dragan Stankovic said he is in Malawi together with his counterparts to find possible ways and means of how best to go about business.
Stankovic said he is optimistic that that things will work out well since they are receiving sufficient support from Malawi government relevant departments.
He said: "In most of the countries, there are high taxes, which drive high prices but the situation in Malawi is different, that is why we want tobacco from Malawi in access of over 100 metric tonnes."
Apart from buying tobacco in Malawi, the company is said to also buying tobacco in Bulgaria, Serbia and other European countries.
The Serbian tobacco buying boss also disclosed that in future his campany intend to start manufacturing cigarettes in Malawi.
Speaking during the function TC Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Chidanti Malunga said what his organisation is doing is in response President Lazarus Chakwera remarks, which he said on 21 April 2021, where he ordered TC and Ministry to find new markets for the green gold.
President Chakwera asked the Ministry of Agriculture to work with the Tobacco Commission on ways of attracting more buyers.
Malunga, however, said the coming in of the Serbia company is just a start of more companies expected to come in the country so that there is more competition and less monopoly.
When opening the new tobacco markets, Chakwera said he wanted a permanent solution to the malpractice by some stakeholders who charge farmers some dubious levies that have not been approved by the Ministry of Agriculture.
"This must stop. It must stop because any senseless levies imposed on farmers increase the cost of production and decrease the farmer's return, and a tobacco industry in which every player can milk the system and boost profits at the expense of the farmer is not something I will tolerate," said Chakwera.