Parliament on Monday unanimously passed the Tobacco Industry Bill into law with high expectation that this piece of legislation would he protect a farmer from exploitation and bring sanity in the industry.
Minister of Agriculture Joseph Mwanamvekha looked and sounded relieved after the passing of the bill which both the farmer and the buyer had pushed to be passed into law for a long time.
“In the past, the farmer was ripped off. The farmer signed the contract without knowing the prices he would be offered and what farm inouytshe would get. This will change now,” he said.
Mwanamvekha said the new law will bring more income to the farmer, saying this will reduce poverty in the country.
“This new law now gives more powers to the Tobacco Control Commission to bring sanity in the tobacco industry to ensure that a farmer is not ripped off,” said the minister.
The new law outlaws buyers from growing tobacco or engaging in the transportation and grading of tobacco.
The legislation has also increased the number of membership for tobacco Associations from an initial 3 000 to 5 000, saying this will make the associations more credible and strong.
Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee Maxwell Thyolera welcomed the new law which repeals the Tobacco Act and the Control of Tobacco Auction Floors Act, consolidating them into one law.