President Mrs. Joyce Banda on Thursday warned ineligible tobacco associations that have been formed to reap farmers.
Banda sounded the warning in Lilongwe when she officially opened Tobacco Association of Malawi (TAMA) 24th Annual Congress.
She said government would take to task any associations aimed at reaping tobacco growers and that government would come up with mechanism to screen them.
“I have noted with concern that there are many tobacco associations which are not eligible, but disguise as genuine tobacco associations that swindle growers. Government will put in place mechanism to screen them,” Banda said.
She further explained that government would help farmers to borrow loans from banks to enhance them produce more tobacco and of better quality, saying tobacco would remain the economy’s mainstay for the country.
“I would like to assure tobacco growers that government will help them borrow loans from banks so that they should produce more tobacco and of good quality,” she said.
The President also commended TAMA for strides made in ensuring that tobacco farmers are benefiting from their efforts. She said TAMA had been in the forefront to find lasting solutions to problems farmers encounter in the tobacco industry.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Prof. Peter Mwanza hailed the President for her commitment to uplift the livelihood of tobacco farmers in the country, saying this would enhance socio-economic development of the country.
“The commitment you have shown, Your Excellency, to uplift livelihood of tobacco growers will also enhance socio-economic development of this country. This is a clear indication that you care for Malawians,” Prof. Mwanza said.
TAMA was formed in 1929 to help tobacco growers in the country in accessing loans from lending institutions as well as bargaining for better prices from buyers.