Japanese Ambassador to Malawi Kae Yanagisawa on Thursday visited the Lilongwe Auction Floors and was impressed by the price tobacco is currently fetching saying the high prices will greatly improve lives of Malawians who rely on tobacco for their livelihood.
“I have come a bit late when the volume of tobacco is low but I am impressed by the price the tobacco is fetching as well as the organization of the tobacco market in Malawi. The market is big but there is a seamless flow of activities which makes it so exciting to watch,” said Yanagisawa.
From the Auction Floors, the Ambassador toured the tobacco processing factory at JTI. Speaking after touring the factory Yanagisawa said she was happy with both the investment JTI has made in Malawi and the programs the company is running in promoting the socio-economic wellbeing of Malawians in districts where the company gets its leaf from.
“JTI is a Japanese-affiliated company and I am happy it is doing good business in Malawi. This was the first time for me to see how tobacco is processed before being shipped. But what is also key apart from the investment are the programs the company is undertaking in the areas of education, water and sanitation for example, which are meant to promote the lives of Malawians,” she said.
Yanagisawa said JTI is not only promoting tobacco growing in Malawi but it is also running programs meant to upgrade the lives of the people.
She said the company should not only focus on procuring better and quality leaf but also ensure that the lives of the people who produce these leaves are promoted.
Earlier on AHL Group General Manager Moses Yakobe thanked Ambassador Yanagisawa for visiting the floors. Yakobe said this year’s tobacco marketing season has been the best in recent times with no disruption and that both the quality of the leaf and prices the same has fetched has been impressive.