Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Bruce Munthali says the number of tobacco growers this growing year has increased due to good prices which were offered last year.
Munthali said on Friday that the number has shot from 20, 000 licensed tobacco growers to about 50, 000 licensed tobacco growers, saying this is encouraging and would lead to sustainable development of the country.
“The number of growers has increased from 20, 000 licensed tobacco growers to about 50, 000 licensed tobacco growers. This will improve our economy as tobacco sector is the backbone of the country’s socio-economic growth,” said Munthali.
He also said TCC, with the help of Agricultural Research and Extension Trust has intensified appropriate use of barns for curing tobacco as well as appropriate chemicals for the control of pests and disease for better yields this year.
Munthali commended the land area increase for tobacco growers and the Integrated Product System (IPS) including the good agricultural practices growers have used.
Tobacco Association of Malawi (TAMA) Chief Executive Officer, Graham Kunimba expressed satisfaction over grown flue cured tobacco this year, saying this would meet market demand and improve economic status of the country.
“Apart from contributing greatly to the country’s foreign exchange earnings, tobacco is also critical for the social economic development. Therefore, we need to safeguard this crop so that it continues to contribute to the country’s economy,” Kunimba explained.
Malawi’s economy is agri-based and tobacco remains the forex earner.