TBZ stuck with last year’s tobacco

The Tobacco Board of Zambia, TBZ is still stranded with the 20 metric tons of burley tobacco it bought from farmers last year.

TBZ chief executive officer, Samson Muyembe, says this is because there is no market for burley tobacco, even on the international market.

He says that the board is now forced to fumigate the tobacco to ensure that it does not go bad, which he says would be very costly for individual farmers.

Mr. Muyembe has therefore advised tobacco farmers not plant burley tobacco, unless they are sponsored by a company.

He explained that TBZ only comes in to buy tobacco to help cushion farmers that got stack due to lack of market.

Meanwhile, Mr. Muyembe says it is not TBZ’s mandate to put up central nurseries.

He explained that farmers, through associations can easily come together and put up such nurseries as the venture has costs.

Meanwhile, the Independent Tobacco Growers Association, has disagreed with TBZ, the Tobacco Board of Zambia, over the proposal that farmers should grow flue cured Virginia tobacco.

Association chairperson, James Nyirenda, says that Virginia tobacco is destructive to the environment as it requires a lot of trees being cut down to cure the tobacco.

He noted that TBZ should just work had and find market for burley tobacco.

Mr. Nyirenda also noted that there is need for companies to be buying tobacco in kwacha instead of US dollar.

He says this will make it much easier for farmers to understand various transactions and negotiate for better buying prices.

He was speaking during The Voice program on Breeze FM Saturday morning.

And John Mbewe, a seasoned tobacco farmer, noted that tobacco marketing challenges in the province can only be addressed if more companies start operating from the region.

He says that currently, there is no competition as the region only has one reliable company.

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