JTI Leaf (Malawi) Limited says it is satisfied with the contract signing process with tobacco growers, saying it will enable the firm to implement other processes in good time.
In an interview last week, the firm’s corporate affairs and communications director Limbani Kakhome said they accelerated the exercise to ensure the safety and well-being of all growers, employees and contractors in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: “We are happy with the progress made so far. We would like to ensure this essential part of the process is completed soonest so that we can turn our focus to distributing inputs and completing this exercise.”
Kakhome said the one-year contract with farmers was read out to them before signing and that every farmer understands what the contract entails.
Study Mvula, a tobacco grower from Dini Tobacco Growers Association in Mzimba, said his life has changed since he started contract farming with JTI.
He said: “I used to struggle to access inputs and the market was tough. Now when I plant my tobacco, I am at peace knowing the market is there and the inputs will be provided.
“I have a lot to show as benefits from this contract arrangement and I commend JTI for always supporting us with inputs and good farming practices.
As one way of promoting sustainable agriculture, which includes protecting the environment, JTI Leaf (Malawi) Limited selects growers who have a live tobacco barn, among others.
Tobacco is the country’s main cash crop, contributing more than 50 percent to the country’s foreign exchange earnings. The tobacco industry employs millions of people directly and indirectly.