Farmer's Voice

Growers in Zambia urged to be cautious while choosing leaf buyers

Ahead of the 2015-16 tobacco growing season, Franklin Mwale, chairperson of the Eastern Fodya Association of Zambia, urged tobacco growers to deal with only "known and reputable local buyers," amid reports that some tobacco growers who traveled from Eastern Province to Lusaka to sell their crop failed to find buyers. Mwale said many companies in Eastern Province and Lusaka are encouraging farmers in the district of Chadiza to carry their crop to the capital, claiming that there is a ready market for the crop. However, the buyers are rejecting the bales saying that the tobacco does not meet quality standards, he added. Meanwhile, small scale and peasant farmers are seeking government intervention citing exploitation by out-grower schemes. Mwale noted that many farmers in Eastern Province working in tobacco out-grower schemes are not registered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. He said only those farmers meeting certain conditions would benefit from the Tobacco Board of Zambia's revolving fund (Zambia Reports 7/15)