Government plans to engage tobacco buyers on Integrated Production System (IPS) of selling tobacco to find out who is benefiting between farmers and buyers.
IPS is a contract farming of tobacco and ensures direct facilitation of growers by processors and buyers.
The system has been running side by side with the traditional auction system since its approval in 2012.
Under the system, 80 percent of all the tobacco is sold under contract while the remaining 20 percent under auction system.
However, IPS has been under the microscope since its inception, with some industry players expressing dissatisfaction, saying it is fuelling poverty particularly for growers under auction system.
Others have also argued that smallholder growers under the IPS have low bargaining power due to high illiteracy levels.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda, in an interview on the sidelines of opening of tobacco sales at Mzuzu floors on Wednesday, said he plans to review the whole system.
“As a new minister, I would like to have a second look at these contract agreements that buyers entered into with individual farmers. I want to make sure that farmers benefit from the system as you know they toil and spend some money; hence, they should be reaping something,” he said.
Chaponda said buyers contributed more than any other stakeholder in setting up minimum prices; hence, no buyer is allowed to buy tobacco at below the minimum price.
Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) chief executive officer Albert Changaya said the leaf presented at Mzuzu floors was of good quality.
“We were worried with the harsh weather condition being experienced in the region that the leaf might be poor, but fortunately we have high quality leaf. If this trend continues, the north might top the country in terms of quality leaf,” he said. n