Tobacco Commission Urges Growers To Diversify Cropping
The Tobacco Commission-TC-is out encouraging tobacco growers not to rely on the leaf alone but diversify cropping in they are to yield profitable returns.
Hellings Nasoni, Corporate and Business Development Manager at TC observed that, elsewhere, crop diversification has proven a worthwhile system in helping improve profits for tobacco growers.
“We believe that tobacco needs something to complement with. We are encouraging them to liaise with extension officers that are providing these services,” he said adding “Our appeal to growers is that they need to start crop diversification”.
One grower in Lilongwe, Tinlois Chaila, attests to the benefits of diversification.
“Now I get more profits because of diversification. And the labour invested in soya beans and groundnuts farming is far less tiring compared to growing tobacco.
“Initially, my finances were solely from tobacco production and it was hard. Especially in situations where the market was not faring well,” Chaila said calling the new approach “a game changer”.
Global demand of tobacco has slumped in recent years due to the anti-tobacco smoking campaign heralded by international hearth institutions.
Advocates of the campaign argue that cutting on smoking would, besides reducing health risks associated with puffin, encourage environmental conservation as tobacco processing involves cutting down trees, a growing environmental problem.
Since 2018, Malawi rolled out a crop diversification campaign in tobacco farming for growers’ participation and contribution to restoring lost vegetative cover.
Tobacco remains Malawi’s highest forex earner with an average of 180 million kilograms produced every year for the international market.
The earnings are now steadily dwindling.