Directive excites growers with excess tobacco

Tobacco growers have expressed excitement with the decision by Tobacco Commission (TC) to reverse its earlier decision to punish growers who overproduced tobacco this year.

Last week, the tobacco regulator announced that growers who overproduced tobacco beyond their allocated quota will have 75 percent of their revenue collected by the TC while they remain with 25 percent revenue.

This is one of the provisions in the new Tobacco Industry Act, which provides the punishment to controll overproduction of tobacco.

In a statement, TC said the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has directed that growers who overproduced by 25 percent of their quota will get 75 percent revenue while the TC will get 25 percent.

Reads the statement in part: “In terms of penalties, government has instructed as follows; if a grower produced tobacco above their quota by and up to 25 percent, the commission will uplift their quota if they apply for it. In this case the commission will collect 25 percent of the proceeds and remit the remaining 75 percent to the tobacco grower.

“If a grower produces tobacco above their quota by more than 25 percent, the commission will uplift the quota if they apply for it. The commission will correct 75 percent of the proceeds at the sale and remit the remaining 25 percent to the tobacco grower”.

Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) chief executive officer Felix Thole described the government intervention as a relief after registering grower concerns last week on the matter.

“We appreciate government for intervening on the matter, a farmer is now relieved because the picture was that the overproduction would attract 75 percent penalty. This consideration by government entails that the farmer who has over produced will pay 25 percent penalty which is not bad,” he said.

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