Centre for Social Concern (CFSC), an arm of the influential Catholic Church in Malawi has urged government to standardize the tenancy labour contract with a framework that promotes the personal development of the tenancy labour worker and the estate owner.
CFSC Director, Father Jos Kuppens, told tobacco stakeholders in Lilongwe on Friday during dissemination of report findings of a survey the body conducted on Tobacco Production and Tenancy Labour in Malawi.
He said there must be mechanism that grant a win-win situation instead of the current-zero sum game which is always in favour of estate owners.
“The evidence gathered through this research coupled with domestic constitutional obligations of the nation provide the ample rationalization for immediate need to regulate the tenancy labor system,” he said.
He said tenancy labour in its current practice is characterized by very low returns and often exploitative arrangements, marginalize and degrade workers.
Father Kuppens observed that current tenancy labour practices should be discouraged if not abolished.
It is therefore of pivotal importance that tenancy labour must be made to conform to some legal framework as a gradual procedure of graduating farmers to the use of other labour means like wage-based or hired labour, he said.
In her remarks, Chief Labor Officer in the Ministry of Labour and Manpower Development, Linda Mtegha-Kawamba said government is committed to issues of labour in the country.
“We have the Tenancy Labour Bill which is still in draft form but while waiting for it , we will consider other options to make sure that these issues are solved,” she said.
Adding that some of the considerations could be a subsidiary legislation under the employment’s Act.
However, the research was done in 18 tobacco estates in five districts of Kasungu, Lilongwe, Mzimba, Mchinji and Rumphi.
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