Tobacco Board of Zambia TBZ says that no tobacco company will be allowed to run floors during this marketing season.
TBZ Chief Executive Officer James Kasongo told Breeze FM News, that TBZ will personally run the floors to ensure that farmers are not exploited.
Mr. Kasongo further says that previously, some tobacco companies were involved in weighing of tobacco, classifying and arbitration, which is not supposed to be the case.
And Mr. Kasongo says that only two floors will operate in Eastern Province this marketing season, which opens on April 3rd.
He says that Chipata Main Floor and Kavulamungu floor have been cleared to operate while Mugubudu floor will not open because of poor hygiene.
Mr. Kasongo further says that JTI might start buying tobacco early following the company’s request to start buying the produce this week but TBZ will make a final decision this morning after JTI avails its buying prices.
And Mr. Kasongo says that the reduction in tobacco buying floors will create challenges to farmers who will have to move long distances in transporting their crop.
He says that more than 500 farmers in Muchinga province have grown tobacco and will have to transport their produce to Lusaka or Chipata.