Reports that tobacco companies will only buy the crop from sponsored farmers have sent independent growers into panic.
Independent Tobacco Growers Association chairperson, James Mlangeni, says that it is surprising that TBZ, the Tobacco Board of Zambia, is only relying on companies instead of looking for alternative buyers.
He explained that independent tobacco growers also face similar challenges with those sponsored by companies and waiting until sponsored tobacco is finished, will subject independent growers to misery.
He appealed to TBZ to quickly find independent buyers.
Mr. Mlangeni says that some farmers grow tobacco independently, because it is not possible for sponsoring companies to give inputs to all growers.
Tobacco Board of Zambia TBZ Chief Executive Officer, Samson Muyembe has told Breeze News that buying companies have indicated that they will only buy from independent farmers after finishing buying from sponsored farmers.
Mr. Muyembe says that TBZ is currently in discussions with the buying companies so that independent farmers do not end up being stranded with their crop, but could not state when he hopes the deal will be clinched.