Signing the contracts with some of the farmers in Zomba District, JTI Agronomy Projects Officer for JTI Jones Thombozi said it is imperative to sit down with farmers and explain to them what is contained in these contracts for them to understand what they are getting into, their responsibilities, JTI’s responsibility and what the contract offers them.
Thombozi said it is their collective responsibility to make sure that farmers supply to JTI the crop that is desired and JTI’s obligation in buying tobacco under the required volumes and supporting them with extension services.
“We have a grower base that we have been working with for the past 5 years therefore the farmers and us are familiar with each other and we look forward to another fruitful year,” said Thombozi.
Thombozi said two of the major things contained in the contract are the issues of child labor and corruption which the company expects full cooperation from the contracted growers in the tobacco industry.
“The tobacco we grow in the country is exported and processed in foreign countries and markets. Part of the local and international laws does not require us to use children in tobacco farming; while supporting government’s effort in curbing corruption, we want to make sure that out value chain is corrupt free,” said Thombozi.
Supervisor for Central Region Tobacco Growers Association Andrew Phiri said the contracts have helped them find easy markets at the auction floors and JTI has fulfilled all their obligations in the contracts that were offered to the growers.
Last month, JTI Malawi had said they will stop buying tobacco after meeting its quotas but later rescinded their decision and said they will buy the remaining tobacco from their contracted farmers after meeting with Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and Tobacco Control Commission TCC officials.