Tobacco Commission (TC) says it has licensed 13 transporters associations for the 2020 tobacco marketing season in accordance with Section 63 of the new Tobacco Industry Act of 2019.
The licensing of the transporters comes barely a month after the tobacco industry regulator also trimmed the number of qualified tobacco growers’ associations to operate in the 2020 tobacco season to five from 40.
TC corporate planning and development manager Hellings Nasoni said on Tuesday that stakeholders in the industry are, therefore, advised to work with the licensed transporters that the institution has vetted.
“We had received a lot of applications from different transporters countrywide and after referring to the requirement of the law, specifically under section 63 of the new Tobacco Industry Act,” he said.
Nasoni said with the new law in place, no person shall deduct any fee or any other sum from a farmer other than the maximum transport rate published by the commission and payable to the licensed transporter, adding that any person who contravenes the provision shall on conviction, be liable to a fine of K10 million and to imprisonment for five years.
Meanwhile, Nasoni said the commission has intensified awareness campaign across the country in sensitising people on the provisions of the new law.
During the opening of the 2019 Tobacco Industry Seminar in Lilongwe, former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa said government was also aware of unauthorised charges within the tobacco industry which he said were negatively affecting the take-home income of the tobacco growers.
“It is our expectation that the Tobacco Commission will enforce the law for the interest of our growers, all players in the industry.”