The new Tobacco Industry Act seeks to protect growers from exploitation.

The new Tobacco Industry Act seeks to protect growers from exploitation.
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The new Tobacco Industry Act seeks to protect growers from exploitation.

By Malawi Exclusive

Tobacco growers who expressed dismay with the Tobacco Industry Act have been advised to follow right channels in order to have their concerns resolved. These calls were made by the Tobacco Commission Chief Executive Officer Kayisi Sadala in an exclusive interview in Lilongwe on Thursday.

The TC Chief was speaking amid reports that some tobacco intermediary buyers (vendors) had been meeting in Mponela and Dowa Boma, planning to challenge the Tobacco Industry Act which seeks to protect farmers from being exploited.

According to sources, these vendors were mobilizing unsuspecting farmers to protest against and frustrate the implementation of the new Act.

Going further, it has been revealed that some farmer representatives are on record to have issued threats towards TC top management via social media and other platforms, as one way of scaring and frustrating the regulating body from Applying the law.

However, Sadala was quick to point out that consultation process for the new Act started way back in 2005 and that various stakeholders including farmer representatives were involved in the formulation process of the legislation. This directly refutes some reports which indicated that the new Act took growers by surprise.

Sadala stressed that Sections 67 and 78 prohibits illegal vendors from buying buying from farmers and penalizes anyone found buying tobacco at unlicensed premises. Contravening the provisions of this Act, attracts corresponding penalties according to the Law.

According to the new Act Section 52 Subsection 1, for grower association s to qualify, one condition is to mobilize atleast 5000 registered growers. From this background, only five grower Associations have qualified for this 2020 marketing seasons upon fulfilling the licensing requirements.

Some individuals whose Associations did not qualify for the forthcoming marketing season are the ones mobilizing to challenge the Act. Sadala therefore assured farmers that they need not to panic, as the TC will support every grower accordingly, making sure they sell their tobacco whether they are under contract arrangement or not.

Malawi Exclusive

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