26 February 2018
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Thursday, 08 February 2018 19:30

Media Network commends government on sound tobacco policies

Written by  Sylvester Kumwenda
Media Network on Tobacco dates TCC CEO Kaisi Sadala Media Network on Tobacco dates TCC CEO Kaisi Sadala

Lilongwe, February 8, 2018: The Media Network on Tobacco (MNT) on Wednesday saluted government for ensuring that there is an enabling environment for the growth of the tobacco industry in Malawi.

Chairperson for MNT, Alfred Chauwa, made the remarks when the network of tobacco journalists had an interface with senior management officials at Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) including Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala.

Chauwa said the country’s leadership has in many ways shown it has interest in developing the tobacco industry which is employing around 12 per cent of the population and generates 60 per cent of the country’s foreign currency.

“Over the years, government has taken all necessary steps within its capacity in uplifting the tobacco industry. For example, the government has implemented sound policies which benefit the industry.

“On the other hand, we have seen government willingness in helping farmers by making sure essential chemicals needed to treat their tobacco fields are readily available. We have never seen the industry lacking essential chemicals, this is very commendable,” said Chauwa.

However, Chauwa said the tobacco industry is facing several challenges which hinder the industry to realize its full potential.

He said the Ant-Tobacco Smoking Lobby remains the major challenge. He said the lobby makes finding markets for tobacco a big challenge as such; it is threatening further growth of the sector.

He added that deforestation has also remained an issue surrounding the Tobacco industry.

Chauwa said current statistics indicate 1 kilogram of tobacco requires 10 kilograms of firewood to process and this is an issue which cannot be ignored.

As recommendations, the MNT suggested for the TCC to help in the production of good quality tobacco so that buyers do not have excuses for failing to buy Malawi’s tobacco and also find more tobacco buyers to increase competition.

Promoting use of live barn locally known as Chigafa Chamoyo to avoid further deforestation was also one of the suggestions.

“We also recommend that TCC should promote modern techniques of growing tobacco and good regulatory standards.

“Also, TCC should be in the forefront in promoting value addition in Tobacco as well as encouraging local processing of tobacco,” said Chauwa.

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