Buyers in Malawi told to ‘stop growing tobacco’

    AHL Group of Companies, Malawi’s sole tobacco and other commodities dealing company, has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to consider reversing its decision to allow tobacco multinationals to grow tobacco, according to Malawi24. AHL Group says the policy is hurting ordinary tobacco farmers.

    AHL Group’s general manager, Moses Yakobe, has urged the government to bar tobacco multinationals from owning big farms and growing tobacco.

    “The question is, what will smallholder farmers do if the business of growing tobacco is also being done by these companies?” Yakobe asked during the official launch of 2015 field meetings and the best burley club award presentation ceremony in Lilongwe.

    Speaking during the same function, Kapichila Banda, president of the Farmers Union of Malawi, concurred with Yakobe, pointing out that farmers are not currently making profits because the demand is being swallowed by the multinational tobacco companies who grow tobacco in large quantities.

    “This is very dangerous to our smallholder farmers,” said Banda.

    At the function, AHL Group, which has been buying tobacco for the past 80 years, awarded K500,000 to Kanthunkako Burley Club, the winner of the 2015 club of the year competition.

    Subsidiary companies under AHL Group include Agriculture Trading Company, Malawi Leaf Company and Tobacco Investment, among others.