The Tobacco Industry Act was officiated in 1938, then reviewed in 1971. Decades later, tobacco growers bemoaned that authorities did not protect their interests as buyers took advantage of the markets, offering low prices among other unpunished offenses. The new Tobacco Industry Act 2019 has been hailed for tackling issues raised up by stakeholders, but the Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) has said there may be need for further review of the new Act.
Citing that the new Act prohibits deduction of a service fee, Tama Chief Executive Officer Felix Thole, said the Act is a disadvantage of farmers and the association. Commenting on the concerns by Tama, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development controller of agriculture services Masankho Bulirani described the new Act as a “living document” that is subject to further amendments. “As government, we believe we have a good law which protects the farmers and it gives equity to everyone, whether it is the grower, buyer, transporter, grader or a processor,” he said.
The new Act launched in April, also changing the name of Tobacco Control Commission to Tobacco Commission. The new law has also stated that all tobacco auction floors will change name to tobacco selling floors because they are now handling tobacco under contract farming or Integrated Production System (IPS) apart from auctioned tobacco.