Integrated Production System also known as contract farming enables tobacco growers in the country to grow the leaf in a sustainable manner by producing more from a small piece of land while at the same time conserving the environment, Deputy Agriculture Minister AggreyMasi has been.Roselyn Banda, a contracted grower with JTI told Masi when he toured JTI contract growers on Thursday last week that ever since she started growing the leaf under contract, she has been producing more from a small piece of land unlike in the past when she was growing the leaf on her own.
“The hybrid seeds, farm input and extension services we receive from JTI enable us to produce more per hectare compared to the time we were growing on our own. What this means, honourable minister is that we have plenty of land to release to other crops such as maize or any commercial crop,” said Banda.
Banda said the new technology of curing tobacco using live barns which the company is encouraging also means deforestation blamed on tobacco production will be the thing of the past.
Speaking to journalists, Minister Masi said he was impressed with the live barns JTI is promoting saying it is an answer to the preservation of environment.
“I have visited a number of growers today who are contracted to JTI and everywhere I have gone, I have seen live barns. I am told it is one of the conditions JTI has set if one wants to grow tobacco with them. This is impressive and an answer to deforestation partly blamed on tobacco production,” said Masi.
JTI Leaf Malawi Managing Director Fries Vanneste said IPS is all about business relation, working together with farmers to produce quality tobacco. He said JTI looks at IPS as a continuous program that helps the company interact with its growers from the nursery all through to the market in order to help them realise a better price for the leaf.