One of the country’s tobacco buying and processing companies Alliance One Tobacco Malawi Limited has donated 71 bicycles worth over K4.7 million to some 71tobacco growers who are cultivating the crop on Integrated Production System (IPS) popularly known as contract tobacco farming with the company.
Speaking during the bicycles handover ceremony at the company’s premises in Kanengo, Lilongwe on Friday, Alliance One Social Services Coordinator Godfrey Chimenya said his company decided to give bicycles to the 71 contracted tobacco farmers as one way of thanking them for following the recommended good Agriculture Labour Practices (ALP) when cultivating their tobacco.
“As a company we have donated these bicycles to our IPS farmers because we have been impressed with their efforts in following the recommended ALP tobacco farming procedures which Alliance One Tobacco as a company advocates in all the countries it is operating around the world,” said Chimenya.
According to Chimenya, among other issues, the ALP farming principles restrains the use of children in any tobacco related production, advocates for proper payment of wages to workers as well as fair treatment of employees working in different tobacco farms and estates across the country.
He further explained that the donation of the bicycles to the farmers was also part of his company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program which his company is implementing across the country which primary focuses at uplifting people’s living standards especially the underprivileged.
He said under its CSR program, Alliance One Tobacco primarily focuses on the four main pillars of water and sanitation, health, environmental conservation and orphans and vulnerable children support among others.
“The ‘Best Farmer Awards’ initiative which Alliance One does annually as one way of motivating its contracted tobacco growers across the country, plays a crucial role in our company’s business because it represent a tangible reflection of our company’s vision, purpose and values among others,” Chimenya said.
In his remarks, one of the beneficiary farmers Justin Kombe commended Alliance One Tobacco for giving him and other fellow contracted tobacco farmers the bicycles which he said would help to ease mobility challenges faced in the course of their tobacco farming.
According to Kombe, the bicycles will help the farmers to move easily whenever they are going to important meetings that area usually convened by the company’s Leaf Technicians who are teach the farmers on the best methods of cultivating tobacco under contract farming system.
“On behalf of my fellow IPS tobacco farmers, let me commend Alliance One Tobacco for giving us these bicycles for free. I did not expect that I will be among the beneficiaries of this donation hence I’m very happy that I have been given this bicycle which will help me and my family in as far as easy mobility is concerned,” said Kombe.