JTI Leaf Malawi (JTILM) says that the 2016-2017 season was the most successful for the company since it entered the Malawi market in 2009, according to a Malawi Voice story.
MD Fries Vanneste said that during the 2016-2017 season, JTILM had recorded a contract market share of 31 percent against an average of 17-18 percent in previous years.
He said that while the overall national crop volume had been down by 54 percent, JTILM had managed to deliver “all of its committed volumes”, which he described as “a milestone for the company”.
He said the season’s outcome had shown how close collaboration between farmers, leaf technicians and grower associations, combined with the company’s ongoing support for growers was bearing fruit.
JTI’s contract farmers had been “very receptive” to the company’s Grower Incentive program called Mlimi Wozitsata (model farmer), which was launched in June 2017. There had been clear improvements in both the quality and yield of the growers’ tobacco.
Vanneste said also that the better quality and higher yield had had a direct and positive impact on the growers’ revenues and profitability.
All of JTILM’s growers had paid off their financing loans this year,” Vanneste said.
JTI is currently working on having its Integrated Production System (IPS) recognized in Malawi’s legislation.
Vanneste said that Malawi’s Tobacco Control Act had been last amended in the 1970s, an era when sustainability, traceability or contract growing were not high on the agenda.
An updated tobacco act, he said, could provide an improved legal framework that supported IPS implementation, protecting the interests of the farmers as well as JTILM’s investments. It could eventually create greater stability for the future of tobacco farming in Malawi overall.
Meanwhile, Vanneste said that by investing more than US$2 million in its factory during the past two years, JTILM had reduced its energy consumption by 53 percent, by enough to light an additional 1,365 households.