Ministry of Agriculture says will be sending to Parliament the revised Tobacco Industry Bill as soon as all inputs received from stakeholders have been incorporated.
Speaking during the 2022 Tobacco Industrial Conference in Lilongwe, Controller of Agriculture and Technological Services, Alfred Mwenifumbo, said government has taken all necessary steps to make sure that the new revised bill should be tabled discussed and passed.
“Government has head all the suggestions from the stakeholders and currently we are incorporating all the suggestions into the new bill,” he said.
Mwenifumbo said this bill is so important as far as tobacco industry is concerned.
He commended TC for organizing the conference.
Tobacco Commission Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Joseph Chidanti Malunga, said the bill will address farmers on contract farming are facing.
Malunga described the tobacco industry as dynamic since it is consumed globally.
He said there are issue as to do with environment and human rights. He said the current bill will help to bring sanity.
He said there was need to change the law to meet the expectations of all stakeholders.
Malawi Parliament passed the Tobacco Industry Bill in 2018 which among other things, the legislation outlawed buyers from growing tobacco or engaging in the transportation and grading of tobacco and strengthened tobacco associations by increasing membership from 3000 to 5000.
Although the bill was aimed help protecting the farmers so that farmers are no longer ripped off because in the past, the farmers were ripped off because farmers signed the contract without knowing the prices he would be offered.
Dingiswayo Jere a Tobacco farmer from Mzimba has since commended Malawi Government for listening to review the act.
“Let us put our farmers first and the rest should come second, farmers are the ones who put much effort and money in tobacco business but what do they gain at the end of the day peanuts which is not fair to our farmers.
“These companies are making a lot of profits from our farmers’ sweat, farmers should therefore have all the powers and the companies should surrender their licences to our farmers otherwise this bill is no of use,” he said.
Malunga said the review is so important. “For example the Tobacco Industrial Act barred Tobacco buyers from giving Fertilizer to farmers this contradicts the same Law which gives mandate of diversification.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :