Government and Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) has said Integrated Production System (IPS) of growing tobacco is an ideal system that would help to achieve quality of the leaf while checking challenges that the industry faces.
Tama chief executive officer (CEO) Graham Kunimba, in an interview last week, described IPS as an arrangement that is winning the hearts of many farmers in the country.
He said based on the study Tama conducted recently, the system will soon be accepted by many tobacco farmers in the country.
“As a representative body of tobacco farmers in the country, we have done a scientific research and the outcome of that research showed that 70 percent of the farmers are happy with IPS while 30 percent still prefer the auction system,” said Kunimba.
Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) deputy CEO David Luka said IPS is a sure way of ensuring quality tobacco and controlling child labour, among other challenges the industry faces.
He said: “IPS is here to stay, but we feel there are other grey areas we have to look into. It is a good system, but it has to be perfected to suit the Malawian farmer.
“Buyers would want to trace whether their tobacco is grown properly or not, or whether proper chemicals are being applied and no child labour is involved and the only way to do it is to contract farmers and monitor them; hence, the system comes in handy”.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza said government’s stand has always been that IPS and auction system will be running concurrently.
“I have said time and again that government is not forcing anybody to join IPS. There is a reason we are advocating for IPS; traceability is there and the use of children in tobacco farms is another crucial issue that IPS checks,” he said.