Farmer's Voice

The Tobacco Control Commission in Malawi Says Dry Spell Expected To Affect Tobacco Output

The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) of Malawi said a continuous dry spell since December 2015 is expected to affect both tobacco output and leaf quality. TCC Chief Executive Officer Albert Changaya predicted heavy losses if the current dry spell continued. He said he plans to set up a committee to assess the situation and recommend remedial measures. In Malawi, where tobacco accounts for more than 15% of annual GDP, earnings declined by 8% y-y to US$ 337.3 million in 2015 (Daily Times - Malawi 1/12).

Malawi's Labor and Manpower Development Minister Henry Mussa said the government is considering abolishing the tenancy system on tobacco fields by making it mandatory for farm owners to put their workers on regular wages. The proposed measure also seeks to amend theEmployment Act of 2000to regulate the Labor Relations Act, which establishes, reinforces and regulates minimum standards of employment. The move follows a December 2015 report commissioned by the International Labor Organization in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor and Manpower Development, which recommended the abolition of the tenancy labor system in the country's tobacco sector. According to the report, the current system is associated with various forms of exploitation such as forced labor practices, discrimination, violation of human rights and low wages (Malawi Voice 1/19).