The Tobacco Commission (TC) on Friday engaged stakeholders in the Northern Region, including traditional leaders, prosecutors and investigators from Malawi Police Service on the new Tobacco Industry Act.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the sensitisation programme, TC acting technical services manager Hellings Nasoni said for the law to be applied effectively, it needs support from traditional leaders and law enforcers, among other stakeholders.
He said they noticed some gaps in the enforcement and application of the laws from the men in uniform and other stakeholders in the tobacco industry.
“We had to reach out to police, especially the investigators and prosecutors so that when they undertake their investigations and prosecutions, they should refer to the new law,” Nasoni said.
He also appealed to chiefs to tell their subjects to stop using child labour in the tobacco value chain.
Tradional Authority Mpherembe from Mzimba District said following the engagement with TC, he will sensitise farmers to eliminate child labour.
In October last year, the United States issued a restriction order on Malawian tobacco due to child labour issues.
Since that order, Malawi has not exported its tobacco to the US.
Child labour in tobacco farms takes three forms, including children being taken away from their families and forced to work on farms, children voluntarily working for tobacco estate owners to support their families with extra income and children helping their parents to meet their obligations on the estate.
TC has so far oriented stakeholders from Southern, Eastern and Central regions on the Act.