By Abdul Rahman Suagibu –
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, Freetown, Sierra Leone- Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development says, Malawi cannot stop tobacco farming though the World Health Organization (WHO) leads an anti-smoking lobby that threatens the leaf’s growing.
Kondwami Nankhumwa – Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development said, on Thursday 26th September, 2019 that government is prepared to fight for the welfare of tobacco farmers the reason being, the crop contributes to the social and economic development of Malawi.
WHO is leading an anti-smoking campaign that derails tobacco farming, an activity that contributes 13% of Malawi’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), earns in around 60% of foreign currency earnings and accounts for 25% of tax revenue.
Nankhumwa pronounced in a Tobacco Coalition for Eastern and Southern Africa Conference better known as T5 Meeting held on past Thursday in Lilongwe that, Malawi will not refrain from the crop, because it’s a strong pillar of the country’s economy, hence; calling members present to come up with a solution to present to the Conference of Parties in Netherlands in 2020.
“Malawi is the biggest producer of burley tobacco in the world and the economy of this country depends on this crop. Tobacco is therefore, the crop that the country cherishes and which my ministry cannot afford to ignore”. The Minister noted.
“As you are aware that, there are world anti-smoking lobbies to discourage the growing of tobacco. This is a grouping of five countries which has come together to find strategies to find ways of feeding in our concerns to those countries who are advocating for the ban of tobacco, before that we are meeting to discuss because we still need to grow tobacco for it helps our national developments. We will discuss ways which will help us tell people the dangers of smoking tobacco to keep it as our forex earner”.
Felix Thole – President of Tobacco Association of Malawi recognized the health hazard posed by tobacco, but he said; it is important for tobacco ban lobbyists to do a rethink of the crop’s economic benefits to Malawi.
“We still demand for tobacco even for the next growing season, but we know the future is uncertain, so we must implore on diversifying”, he said.
The T5 comprises of tobacco growing countries namely: Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, meet to discuss issues on tobacco in their respective countries.
For New Africa Business News Abdul Rahman Suagibu Reports, Africa Correspondent
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