Some tobacco growers have alleged that there is corruption at the Mzuzu Auction Floors, particularly in the manner their leaf is bought.
In an interview, the farmers say it is surprising when they compare the prices offered to a grower’s leaf, which is of good quality, to the one sold by vendors which is mostly not properly graded.
Another grower, Malola Nyirenda, said though he has never been involved in the act of bribing officials for his leaf to fetch good price, he has heard of such stories at the floors.
Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) chief executive officer Bruce Munthali said the tobacco regulatory authority is investigating the matter and called for sanity and discipline in the industry.
“It is hard to verify, but this is denting the image of the industry,” he said, asking i has since asked all the growers to report any case of corruption to TCC.
While refusing to comment on the matter, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza hinted on “chammanja”, a bribe that growers give to transporters for their tobacco to be transported to the floors.
He said this might be one of the reasons most growers fail to service their loans as the little money they get is also offered in bribes.