Member of Parliament (MP) for Salima Central Constituency Felix Jumbe (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) on Tuesday pressed government to outline the measures it intends to employ to protect tobacco farmers from the “manipulated kwacha-dollar exchange rates”.
Jumbe claimed that in the past buyers have tended to use calculated fluctuation or strengthening of the kwacha during the tobacco selling season in a ploy to buy Malawi’s green gold at cheaper prices.
He was speaking in the National Assembly when he was given the floor to present a supplementary question to the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza.
Said Jumbe: “As we are approaching the tobacco selling season, it is important that government—through the Minister of Agriculture [Irrigation and Water Development]—should tell the nation how it intends to protect farmers from abuse by buyers. How is the government going to protect the poor farmer from the manipulated kwacha-dollar exchange rate?”
He said he feared that producers of the “green gold” could remain perpetually poor if government does not put in place measure to protect them as manipulation of the kwacha-dollar exchange rates disadvantages the poor farmer and the economy.
However, Chiyembekeza could not provide immediate answers, saying he needed to be given more time so that he consults technocrats from his ministry.
“Mr Second Deputy Speaker Sir, allow me to consult with relevant officials at my ministry and provide an appropriate answer to his question at some point,” he said.