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Monday, May 27, 2024

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    President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has warned that his administration will deal with anybody found participating in illegal trading of tobacco, justifying that the practice normally defrauds farmers and the entire nation.

    Chakwera cautioned illegal traders on Monday at Chinkhoma in Kasungu where he officially opened the 2024 Tobacco Marketing Season themed “Safeguarding Our Economy: Uniting Against Illegal Tobacco Trade.”

    The state president disclosed that this marketing season seeks to bring awareness towards illegal tobacco trading.

    To emphasize his determination to arrest illegal trading of tobacco, Chakwera has instructed relevant authorities, mostly the Inspector General of Police, to take an active role in curbing the vice through close monitoring of events along the value chain as well as enforcing all legal and regulatory frameworks, the new Tobacco Industry Act inclusive.

    “To the inspector General of Police, please intensify monitoring and enforcement of the regulatory frameworks, and arrest anybody in violation of the same,” orders Chakwera.

    President Chakwera has since described the 2024 Tobacco Marketing Season as having commenced on a good note with the leaf attracting fair prices. Based on some of the sales slips in circulation, prices went as high as US$3 per kg. However, Chakwera advised tobacco farmers to adhere to all market guidelines in order to continue attracting good prices from buyers.

    The Malawi leader also expressed optimism that the Tobacco industry, being the economy’s backbone, will continue being pivotal to country’s development agenda in line with the Malawi Vision 2063.

    Chakwera reminded Malawians to give credit to tobacco farmers for their commendable role of generating the much-needed forex which facilitates importation of various goods and services to the country. Such being the case, the Malawi leader stressed that tobacco farmers, as number one forex earners, must be given the necessary support for them to be successful in their farming businesses. He also bemoaned some people’s irresponsible behaviour of ignorantly indulging in blame game in times of forex scarcity instead of participating in generation of the same.

    “If there are Malawians working hard to bring forex in this country, toping the list are tobacco farmers.

    “People flock to the bank to buy forex for various tasks, but it is the tobacco farmer who deserves applause for generating it for us. That’s why when we lack forex for imports, paying school fees abroad, seeking medical services abroad, importing fuel, …………, all we need is to give our farmers the needed support,” advised Chakwera.

    Earlier in the day, Chakwera officially opened the state-of-the-art Tobacco Commission office complex, constructed to the tune of K950 million, followed by inspection of the construction of 110 officers’ houses at Engineering Battalion of the Malawi Defence Force (MDF).

    According to Tobacco Commission, farmers are expected to enjoy good prices as a total of ten tobacco buying companies are set to compete to purchase an estimated output of 140 million kilograms.

    Lilongwe and Limbe auction floors will open on 16th April 2024, while Mzuzu on the 7th May 2024.


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