JTI Launches Promotion, Farmers Expect To Produce More Food
Japan Tobacco International insists that the only way to achieve food security and economic independence among farmers is if the tobacco law is reviewed so that companies can be allowed to give farmers fertilizer for non-tobacco crops.
Its Corporate Affairs Management Limbani Kakhome told us in Lilongwe that having failed to convince government on the issue, the company decided to introduce Mlimi Wozitsata Ayiphule promotion which has fertilizer as part of prizes to be won, so that farmers can produce enough food.
He was speaking during the launch of the 100 million kwacha promotion which has fertilizer, maize mills, motor bikes and other consolation prizes, to run from April to September.
“The promotion is not the first of its kind, but an improvement of what we have been doing before. Severe years ago, we ran a scheme called Mlimi Wodzitsata which gave farmers farm inputs, ox-carts and bailing jacks among the prizes to recognize their exceptional work, so this year we thought of doing it differently to reward farmers that will exceptionally bring volumes and quality”, he says.
He says the 100 bags of fertilizer is only an intensive despite being insufficient considering the company has 8,700 contracted farmers, however says it will assist farmers produce more food so that they sell the leaf for economic purposes.
A farmer from Ambuyedziko Village in Ntchisi Filodi Banda says farmers remain hopeful that the law will be reviewed so that they can access maize fertilizer, adding that the promotion’s lucky winners stand to have high maize harvests for food, while assured of economic gains after the tobacco sales.
“The competition is a welcome development and will encourage us to work hard. What is expected is not new for we do them already. We know that not everyone can win but we are grateful for it because whoever wins fertilizer for example, will mean they will produce more food and assured of food security”, says Banda.
A Luanar-based agriculture expert Horace Phiri feels it is good to have anything that improves the farmers’ harvests, but says it is far much better to have something that is permanent than competitions.
“Especially since companies are bent on tobacco farming, it is good that a farmer is promoted to grow more food. This is the reason that something permanent should be put in place for them to produce more food each year”, Phiri says.
Tobacco farmers have over the years called for a review of the law, to allow them access fertilizer for non-tobacco crops to maximize food production.
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