One of the world’s largest cigarrete manufacturers JTI says embracing and harnessing Malawi’s newly adopted Integrated Production System (IPS) of growing tobacco holds key to the future of the industry, which anchors the country’s economy.
Speaking in Mangochi where JTI is participating at this year’s Annual Conference of the Economists Association of Malawi (ECAMA), Corporate Affairs & Communication Director Limbani Kakhome said amidst many challenges facing tobacco globally, IPS offers solutions to the local industry by creating sustainable actions.
“By its nature and in responding to the challenges of the local industry, IPS provides certainty for us in Malawi as it helps us control, among other factors the crop size and its quality,” he said.
Kakhome said at a time when global demand for the leaf was looking troubled, the solution lies in Malawi graduating into a leaf source that produces in response to the global market requirement.
“IPS provides such responsive mechanisms and in the long-term should help safeguard our position globally as an economy that depends on the leaf,” he said.
Kakhome said through JTI’s Facilitated Farming Scheme (FFS), under which the company contracts smallholder growers across the country, JTI has gathered enough evidence that shows that IPS is bearing the intended fruits.
He said most of JTI’s contract growers have shaken off the rugs of poverty and are living sustainably.
“They are growing food crops, earning a decent return on their tobacco and are also the ones taking the lead in managing the environment through following good agriculture practices and planting trees,” he said.
He noted, however, that two years after Malawi Government adopted IPS, the policy is not anchored in as there have been delays by Parliamanent to pass an ammended Tobacco Act into law. The act provides a legal framework for effective implementation of IPS, he said. “Our expectation was that by now IPS would have been embedded in a good law to support and guide its long-term implementation,” he said/
The Ecama AGM is being held under the theme; “Achieving Inclusive Sustainable Economic Growth: From Rhetoric to Practice.” The Minister of Trade & Industry Josephy Mwanamvekha is expected to officially open the AGM.