Tobacco Commission to cushion farmers from impact of late onset of rains

The Tobacco Commission (TC) says it will take appropriate interventions to cushion farmers from the potential impact of the late onset of rains on earnings from tobacco in the 2020 to 2021 marketing season.

The late onset of rains has prompted the commission to investigate the impact on tobacco nurseries hence the deployment of personnel to selected tobacco growing areas for the impact assessment.

Dr Chidanti Malunga

The Commission’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Joseph Chidanti Malunga, said in a statement issued on Monday that the Commission will be engaging various stakeholders to devise strategies for minimizing the potential impact on farmer earnings.

“We have at our disposal opportunities as a regulator to engage various players on interventions that will protect growers’ interests,” he said.

Malunga further said a decision on specific interventions will be informed by the assessment report.

Probable interventions include factoring the delayed onset of rains in the 2021-2022 cost of production negotiation workings, negotiating with buyers for flexible loan conditions on behalf of farmers and engaging government on other options, he said.

Despite the delayed season this year, he said, the Commission will continue stirring the industry to achieve a 180 million kilograms annual production target in the next few years.

In 2020, 114 million kilogrammes of tobacco were sold in the country’s auction floors and in 2021, the volume increased to 123 million kilograms.

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