The Japan Tobacco International (JTI), a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies, on Thursday commissioned laboratory equipment at the Agriculture Research and Extension Trust (Aret) in Lilongwe.
The exercise was part of the companyâ€™s quest to facilitate improved capacity of key players in the countryâ€™s tobacco value chain.
Speaking at the function, JTI senior vice-president (Leaf) Paul Neumann said the equipment will be used to test nicotine and microbiology in tobacco.
In the past, Malawi has been spending millions of kwacha to conduct such tests abroad.
Neumann said JTI has invested $120 million (about K30 billion) into the project.
“The investment is part of the companyâ€™s long-term strategy to promote sustainability in the tobacco value chain and secure high-quality tobacco from an environmentally sustainable market,” he said.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Professor Peter Mwanza, who witnessed the commissioning of the plant, thanked JTI for the equipment, saying such technologies are long overdue for Malawi.
“The stage is now set for Malawi to break the cycle of low- quality tobacco that often frustrates the viability of our tobacco market,” said Mwanza.