US varsities’ academicians and students visit AHL Group to check Malawi tobacco marketing system

A group of students and professors from various universities in the United States of America recently visited AHL Groups head office in Lilongwe to appreciate the company’s operations, including the tobacco marketing system which it runs for the country.

US varsities’ students and professors visit AHL Group

The visitors at the tobacco market in Lilongwe.-Photo by Chancy Namadzunda, Nyasa Times

The 23 students and seven professors were accompanied by officials from Land O’ Lakes USA and Malawi.

Welcoming the visitors, AHL Group Chief Executive Officer Dr. Evans Matabwa said the company remains committed to the smooth running of Malawi’s structured tobacco market for the benefit of both growers and the country.

He said despite the challenges the crop was facing on the international market, it remains significant to the country’s economy and wellbeing of millions of Malawians, especially in rural areas.

“AHL Group is there to ensure that the interests of smallholder growers, the government and the Malawi economy are well protected in the trading and export of tobacco,” said Matabwa.

He said realizing that tobacco is facing anti-smoking lobbies, AHL Group is also championing Malawi’s economic and export diversification agenda through new business units it is setting up to support farmers in both the production and marketing of other crops other than tobacco.

Matabwa mentioned the establishment of AHL Group subsidiary companies such as AHL Chemicals and Steel (ACSL) and AHL Commodities Exchange (AHCX) as strategic both for the group and the country.

“Through AHCX, for example, we have set up structured marketing system like the one we are using for tobacco, of course with modifications, to support the formal trading and export of crops such as soya, groundnuts, bean and others so that they can start support farmers and the country the way tobacco has done,” said Matabwa.

Speaking on behalf of the visitors, Sarah Vater from University of Minnesota said the students and professors were excited to see how AHL Group was supporting smallholder farmers in Malawi to live better lives.

“It’s interesting to see such a vast system and facilities in place to ensure the wellbeing of farmers,” she said.

The delegates were taken on a tour of the Lilongwe tobacco selling floors where they witnessed a live auction sale.

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