By ALICE NACHILEMBE
Chipangali Council Chairperson Maxson Nkhoma says that the complaint by Tobacco farmers in the district over the low flow price of Tobacco is genuine.
Mr Nkhoma said Tobacco companies are offering $2.65 cents per kg for highest grade of tobacco, the same price they offered last year.
He said following the opening of the Tobacco marketing flows two week ago, his office has received complaints from tobacco farmers concerning the market flow prices to be very low.
“Farmers have narrated that when selling the tobacco last year the dollar was trading at K20 while this year the dollar is trading at K17 against the Kwacha meaning that the drop in the dollar rate will translate into famers giving more tobacco for less money,” he said.
Mr Nkhoma has thanked tobacco companies operating in Chipangali for opening the Tobacco marketing flows quickly, following the call from the chiefs to Tobacco companies to open the market flows early in order to protect farmers from being exploited by some unscrupulous brief case buyers.
He has called on tobacco marketing companies JTI and Pemba leaf operating in the District to offer cost reflective prices to farmers considering the cost of farming inputs and the unpredictable rainfall.
Mr Nkhoma said Chipangali District accounts for more than 50% of tobacco production in Eastern Province hence most farmers in the District are affected.
He has assured Tobacco farmers in Chipangali District that he will meet with management of JTI and Pemba leaf tobacco buying companies and lobby for better tobacco flow prices.