The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has encouraged farmers in the country to grow more tobacco, saying the demand for the leaf will surge on the global market due to poor crop production in the US.
TCC chief executive officer Dr Bruce Munthali said farmers should not be discouraged by World Health Organisation (WHO) anti-smoking campaigns, saying if the future of the country were gloomy multinational companies would not have invested so much in the industry.
Munthali said this when he inspected tobacco nurseries at Embombeni in Mzimba.
â€œTobacco has failed in most States in the US. Our farmers should take advantage of the situation by increasing tobacco production,â€ said Munthali.
He said he was encouraged that more farmers are interested to grow tobacco this year because of good prices the leaf fetched at auction floors.
â€œOur farmers are also growing tree seedlings to rehabilitate the environment,â€ he said.
He said the countryâ€™s demand for burley tobacco stands at 160 million kilogrammes, flue cured tobacco at 20 million kilogrammes and dark fire tobacco is pegged at six million kilogrammes.
Tobacco wires in 60 percent of the countryâ€™s foreign earnings.