The Tobacco Board of Zambia, TBZ says there is nothing it can do over companies buying tobacco from farmers in US dollars.
TBZ Regional Inspector, Harold Siyandula, says the board has no control over the appreciation of the Kwacha.
He was responding to complaints from farmers that they may not make enough money because the Kwacha has appreciated against the dollar.
Yesterday, some farmers in Mgubudu area wondered why every time tobacco markets open, the Kwacha appreciates, resulting in farmers making little profits.
He however, advised farmers to deliver their tobacco to the floors early.
And Mr. Siyandula says that TBZ has put in place measures, such as engaging more buyers, to ensure that farmers’ needs and expectations are met during this year’s marketing.
He also noted that the delay in opening of this year’s tobacco market will negatively affect the economy of the province.
Mr. Siyandula apologized for the delay, but explained that TBZ will ensure that the marketing goes on well and farmers given the fairest prices possible.
Meanwhile, Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry, EPCCI President, Thomas Mtonga, has observed that the pulling out of companies is slowly bringing down the tobacco industry in the region.
He explained that this has led to lack of competition and reduction in the production capacity.
Mr. Mtonga says that EPCCI is concerned as the deteriorating situation in the tobacco industry will lead to serious lack of income among people.