Some farmers in Malawi have threatened to stop growing tobacco due to lack of sustainable payment, according to Malawi24.
The farmers said that growing tobacco under the current contract system is leaving them more impoverished than they would be if they invested their own resources in the process.
“It’s better to withdraw and let those companies do the work; it’s not in order for a farmer to spend time growing tobacco and later earn less. This is disgusting,” said David Chirwa, a seasoned tobacco farmer.
“It’s not on. Imagine toiling for a year and earning MKW100,000 [$123], the rest being earned by a tobacco company. This is nuisance. We’re not their slaves,” said Tinkho Muyaba, interim chairperson for the Concerned Tobacco Growers Union.
Tobacco is a demanding crop to grow, requiring close monitoring throughout the whole process. “[Tobacco] is one of the most agonizing crops to grow,” said Jeremiah Chihana, another tobacco farmer. “We spend sleepless nights. It’s an insult, therefore, to be taken for granted by these tobacco companies.”
Tobacco farmers have said that unless the government intervenes to get rid of the contract system, they will likely venture to other crops, such as soya.