In a bid to curb issues of child labour and poor tobacco leaf grading, AHL Tobacco Sales is monitoring and sensitising tobacco growers to the importance of adhering to best production standards.
Towards the end of last season, the tobacco industry was shocked with news that the United States Government had issued a World Release Order (WRO) following concerns over reports of use forced and child labour in the tobacco production value chain.
In an interview after engaging farmers at Mitundu in Lilongwe on Wednesday, AHL Group public relations manager Teresa Ndanga observed that the last market season was characterised with poor leaf grading and child labour concerns.
She said: “We wanted to engage the farmers during this time when they are producing the leaf in the field and when they will be going into the grading and packaging so that they follow the best practices.”
A tobacco farmer at Mitundu, Azani Aliyere, who has cultivated three hectares of tobacco this growing season, said on Wednesday that there are twin challenges of the army worms that are attacking the leaf and excessive much rains that is washing away fertiliser nutrients good for leaf development.
According to Tobacco Commission chief executive officer Kayisi Sadala, in this growing season, tobacco buying companies indicated that they are willing to buy 154.3 million kilogrammes (kgs), which is three percent higher than the aggregate demand of 149.6 million kgs last year.
AHL Tobaaco Sales is one of the subsidiaries of AHL Group, formerly Auction Holdings imited.