Tobacco Commission reviewing Covid-19 sales measures to accommodate more growers 

Tobacco Commission (TC)–the regulator for tobacco industry in Malawi–says it is in discussion with relevant stakeholders to review some of the sales procedures for the current tobacco marketing season in order to accommodate more growers on the floors.

Tobacco Commission CEO Kaisi Msadala : There are concerns that with the non-availability of growers to witness their sales-pic by Lisa Kadango

At the start of the season, players in the tobacco industry agreed to limit the numbers of people patronizing the floors in keeping with coronavirus (Covid-19) preventive measures.

And for the growers, it was agreed that their representatives would be the ones on the floors.

However, the growers this week dragged TC to High Court over the Covid-19 measures, saying they have created problems that need to be sorted.

Hearing of the case reportedly began Friday.

But in an interview with Nyasa Times, TC Chief Executive Officer, Kayisi Sadala, disclosed that the regulator now wants to ensure that growers are still assured of transparency at the floors.

He said TC is seeking ways of ensuring more involvement of growers in the sales proceedures.

“There are concerns that with the non-availability of growers to witness their sales, there would be a possibility of the sales being negatively affected.

“However, this could not be true because the way tobacco sales operate, there is already no direct dealings between the buyer and the grower,” said Sadala.

He, however, assured that the commission is working on reviewing the measures to ensure that growers’ interests are fully met.

Sadala said TC is consulting industry stakeholders on the matter and will soon make a pronouncement.

He added: “The commission has a responsibility to ensure that the growers interests are duly protected during the marketing of their tobacco. The measures are at constant review”.

However, Sadala emphasized that any concerns on the sales proceedures will be considered on condition that they do not compromise Covid-19 preventive measures instituted by government.

This season’s tobacco sales opened four weeks ago and has so far registered better prices than the 2019 season.

Average price is US$1.53 per kilogramme–which is actually 13% higher than 2019 over the same period.

Close to 18 million kilogrammes have been sold within these four weeks, earning Malawi about K20 billion.

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