Delay to open tobacco marketing worries independent tobacco growers

Some independent tobacco growers in Eastern Province have expressed worry that the delay in the announcement of the opening date for this year’s market will plunge them into more problems than last year.

David Banda and Lyson Mvula of Chief Chanje’s area in Chipata district, say that they are not satisfied with the explanation given by TBZ over the delay.

They observed that while it is true that some farmers are still preparing for the market, announcing the date would help them plan better.

They said that last year, independent tobacco growers faced serious challenges to sale their crop, despite the market having opened in good time.

He explained that it is strange that while markets in other tobacco growing countries such as Malawi and Zimbabwe have opened, farmers in Zambia are not even sure which companies will be buying the crop this year.

On Monday, TBZ chief executive officer, Samson Muyembe, assured farmers not to worry, but concentrate on preparations such as grading and bailing their tobacco.

He explained that the tobacco market will open when farmers finish the harvesting and preparations in most parts of the country.

Mr.  Muyembe explained that it would be pointless for now to open the market when farmers are still preparations.

But Eastern Foodya Association of Zambia, EFAZ president, Franklin Mwale, also observed that by now, farmers should have known when the tobacco market will open.

Mr. Mwale says that it is not good that up to now, the famers are not aware of the opening date, buyers or prices.

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