Malawi President Professor Peter Mutharika on Thursday graced one of the world’s largest cigarrete manufacturers JTI with his presence when he opened a new warehouse and substantial upgrades to their tobacco processing line at their site in Lilongwe.
The investments, worth more than K5 billion, reaffirm JTI’s long-term commitment to the future of tobacco in Malawi.
The newly built warehouse adds additional storage area equivalent to more than two football pitches, while the upgrades to the processing plant enhance quality, productivity and safety.
Speaking at the opening ceremony held at the JTI factory, the President shared the Company’s positive vision for the future.
“This is a great day, not only for JTI, but for the tobacco industry and indeed for Malawi since this investment offers hope to us all that tobacco will still be grown in this country for several years to come,” he said.
Mutharika went on to say that government of Malawi is committed to passing a new law that supports sustainable growing and selling of tobacco, which will protect the livelihoods of the country’s millions of smallholder growers.
For his part, JTI Senior Vice President, Paul Neumann, said the company will continue working towards harnessing Malawi’s potential as a leading producer of the burley leaf: “We applaud President Mutharika in his support of JTI.”
Head of JTI’s business in Malawi, Fries Vanneste, went on to say: “Our approach will improve the profitability of growers and the stability of the Malawian tobacco market. We provide support not only to individual growers, but also invest in entire communities to improve access to water, healthcare, and better education.”
JTI Malawi operations employ more than 1 300 people and works directly with over 11 000 growers.