Tobacco Commission (TC) has advised growers who produced beyond their allocated quota to apply for quota uplifts, but warned they will lose 75 percent of revenue realised from the sale of excess leaf.
This is a punishment contained in the new Tobacco Industry Act 2019 to penalise growers who produce beyond their allocated quotas.
In a statement on Friday, TC chief executive officer KayisiSadala said the regulatory body will accord a chance to tobacco growers to apply for quota uplifts to sell excess volumes.
The new law states that for any excess tobacco sold on the market, 75 percent of the revenue should be in the custody of TC as a penalty while a farmer gets the remaining 25 percent revenue.
Reads the statement: “The commission would like to advise growers who produced more than allocated quota that quota uplifts for such excess tobacco will be on Saturday September 7 in all the commission’s division offices and on Saturday September 14 for Lilongwe division only.
“To enforce compliance on production quota, the commission will effect penalty on these uplifts as provided for in the Tobacco Industry Act 2019. The commission urges all tobacco-buying companies to ensure that they meet their contract obligations with growers and support entire market to its end.”
Tobacco Association of Malawi chief executive officer Felix Thole said in an interview the development will demotivate farmers.
Said Thole: “This is really a big blow to farmers because it means unprecedented losses will be incurred.
“Our appeal is that we should wait till next year for full implementation of the provisions because the law came in while farmers had already grown the crop.”
AHL Group general manager responsible for sales Graham Kunimba said the implementation of provision is raising more questions from growers because they produced before the law was enacted which means it is being implemented retrospectively.
Meanwhile, TC has announced that Limbe, Chinkhoma in Kasungu and Mzuzu floors will close on September 11 while Lilongwe will wind up sales on September16.