Malawi Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe has summoned representatives of all tobacco stakeholders to discuss the high rejection rate, reports The Nyasa Times. Up to 72 percent of bales brought to auction were being rejected at the newspaper’s press time.
Lowe urged farmers to deliver high-quality tobacco and to avoid child labor, which international tobacco buyers frown upon. What’s more, he encouraged tobacco growers to diversify into crops such as soya, groundnuts and cotton to reduce their dependency on the golden leaf.
Lowe echoed sentiments expressed earlier by Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera. During the opening ceremony of 2021 tobacco selling season on April 20, Chakwera said there was no future in tobacco due to declining demand.
Chakwera said Malawi tobacco growers should switch to other cash crops like cannabis, which Malawi legalized last year for industrial and medicinal use.