Tobacco farmers bemoan new buying system ahead of Malawi marketing season

As tobacco farmers readies for opening of the Malawi’s tobacco marketing season on April 8, many farmers continue speaking against the Integrated Production System which they feel government has imposed on them.

A farmer in Lilongwe West showing Nyasa Times his tobacco but he is worried with IPS

A farmer in Lilongwe West showing Nyasa Times his tobacco but he is worried with IPS

Despite toiling in their farms this farmer cannot manage to buy good clothes due to prices at Auction floors by tobacco buying companies.

Despite toiling in their farms this farmer cannot manage to buy good clothes due to prices at Auction floors by tobacco buying companies.

Farmers in various parts of the country including those under Lilongwe West Agricultural Extension Area told Nyasa Times that they are very worried with the new system of buying their green gold than the normal means which they created competition among the buyers.

“What happens in the new system is that when you have signed a contract with a tobacco buying company you don’t negotiate for better prices which means that the same company will buy you that tobacco even if the price is very low. This has been our major concern all along,” said one farmer in Lilongwe.

A presentation on Tobacco Production and Market Review Policies by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development at the 2014 Tobacco Industry Annual Seminar confirms that IPS has a number of problems.

The paper says the system lacks transparency in loan portfolios. For example the tobacco buying companies are free to charge farmers any interests on the farm inputs given.

A farmer in Dowa told Nyasa Times that they charge us K30, 000 on each bag of fertilizer which cost K16, 000 on a conventional market.

“This is a day light robbery where in Malawi is a bag of fertilizer wealth that price, that is why we are saying let’s go back to our auction system of buying tobacco,” said the Farmer.

The paper says with IPS tobacco farmers’ experience “high bank interest rates, exchange rates and high insurances, and that there is reduced competition among the buyers this result in farmers getting low prices especially when demand is low to attract higher prices.”

In a separate interview three members of Parliament confirmed to Nyasa Times that Malawi government hurried to endorse IPS which has now turned tobacco farmers as beggars.

Agricultural Parliamentary Committee chairperson who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson on agricultural matters Felix Jumbe told Nyasa Times that currently his committee is investigating on the public outcry in regards to IPS.

Jumbe who is also former President of Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) said his committee has received a lot of complaints from the tobacco.

“We cannot just woke up and condemn the system. We are supposed to carry out our own independent verification exercise to find pros and cons of the system and then write a report to government on our position,” said Jumbe.

But a member of the same committee Ntchisi based Member of Parliament Nkhosa Kamwendo did not hide his outburst.

“The system is just there to steal from the farmers and they share the proceeds, as MP my job is to protect my people in my constituency who survives in farming but if my people are being reaped off in a day light robbery then I am failing my duty,” said Kamwendo.

Another MP Boniface Kadzamira said it is unfortunate that government is failing to protect its farmers by allowing this system.

“Although I am not a member of the agriculture committee in Parliament but this system is unfriendly to our tobacco farmers,” said Kadzamira.

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18 thoughts on “Tobacco farmers bemoan new buying system ahead of Malawi marketing season”

  1. kadamanja says:

    Call the Zambians they are now buying tobacco @ k1200/ kg ie black market mesa boma likukubelani.

  2. mgodi says:

    if you dont know lps please dont comment

  3. Zathu says:

    It is under IPS where a farmer negotiates the price and not auction. Akudana ndi IPS akutumidwa ndi anthu odana ndi chitukuko

  4. Khongoni Boy says:

    Ndili Ndi Abakha 150 Ogulitsa Ndani Angawafune

  5. nana says:

    tiyeni tilime chamba basi osati zamogozo

  6. Zachisoni Phiri says:

    IPS ndiyofunika kuiwonanso bwino

  7. Kanjex says:

    Wat iz tobacco after all? Ine ndimalima soya.n’cholinga choti atavuta ma prices ndikagaya ndikumwamwa mphala or else kukazinga rather than kt ena azindidyera masuku pamutu ngati kt adavutika nawo ndi tchto ya kumunda.AKE VA UZGEREZGA

  8. Awali mustafa says:

    How possible

  9. wellie says:

    The IPS system was introduced to provide a platform where there is a win win situation between tobacco farmers and tobacco companies. due to high input costs most Malawian farmers were unable to produce good quality tobacco as such the companies that produce cigarretes always cried foul bcoz they bought low grade tobacco at the auction floors the problem was made worse due to liberisation of tobacco farming where every jim and jack is free to grow tobacco which wasnt the case in Kamuzu’s days. These farmers even went on to apply unrecommended inputs to their tobacco there by compromising the high standards demanded by cigarrete smoking nations overseas which ultimately would have killed Malawi’s economy as noone would buy our leaf if the trend continued. Now enter IPS where the farmer is given alli the inputs so as to produce the high quality leaf needed by the companies ontop of that a Leaf technician as assigned to those farmers who have joined IPs in that particular season the farmer is guided to follow recommended tobacco production procedures. IPS is there to make tobacco production sustainable remmember the inputs are a loan and any right thinking person knows that a loan attracts an interest in this case its the banks that calculate interest on the loans as the tobacco companies only link the farmers to the banks financial backing of IPS is provided by banks so the balooned input prices come in after interest but the input’s principal cost is the same as on the normal market. the solution is that farmers under this system should send their tobacco early to auction before the interest baloons up. and lbanks should reduce their rates otherwise IPS is there to sustain tobacco production

  10. batkiss says:

    Akupanga phokosowa Si alimi, ndi ma association. Associations act like middlemen/agents btwn alimi n msika, ips somhow eliminates their need in the process. Nzomwe akukwiya nazo apazi kumabisala kuseli kwa alimi. Ngongole or Ku joina ips sakakamizana, mlimi aliyense is free to sell thru auction or ips, nde mudandaula chani, osangopita kukagulisa Ku auction bwanji, wakuletsani ndani?

  11. jesus is lord says:

    Palibe chodabwitsa apa this is called systematic kusolola, mukuti bwa?

  12. parasido says:

    I really appreciate the concern raised by the farmers. I once told my relatives in Dowa how unhappy I was with the way loans are managed. They thought I was just ignorant of the whole arrangements and that my education has made me too much afraid of risk taking. The other problem is that these farmers sign the contrats without really understanding what they are getting into. I really cry for these poor souls . some have been tobacco farmers for ages but have nothing to show. I believe the whole system is rotten and too corrupt for a poor farmer to get anything from his sweat. Auction system has only enriched the guys at Kanengo, the corrupt buyers, tcc, etc . God have mercy.

  13. PRECIOUS BZ says:

    If government tries to make farmers improve income it will mean Malawi has improved. Koma mulichabe phwi pa m’phika wa ndalama

  14. Lupanga says:

    Alimiwonso ena ndi mbava kubera komanso kuzuza antchito awo kwambiri. A Felix Jumbe ku farm kwawo ku Peacock ku Salima anthu awo atha miyezi kaya ingati kaya asanawapase malipiro! Nde asaoneke angelo apa

  15. Patriot says:

    Munya, akuti iye akumwa tea wa mkaka ndi inu alibe nanu ntchito.

  16. Bolingo wa chingoni says:

    Kodi panja fodya a W.H.O akuletsa ndiye tangopezani mbewu zina zolima basi

  17. Mchikumbe Nthesa says:

    I concur with Hon Felix Jumbes statement let’s look at pros and cons then advise government. There is no system that has pros only. We have to weigh between the two to make a decission. However our Parliamentarians should desist from attacking government on petty issues. We know they are part of the legislative arm of government which enacts statutes for this country and ammends them or repeal them where neccessary.
    A Kamwendo and a Kadzamira wake up it is you people failing your duties in parliament by not responding swiftly to peoples concerns and yet you expect us to treat you as angels.

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