The High court in Blantyre on Tuesday restrained government and the Tobacco Control Commission from implementing the tobacco Integrated Production System – IPS.
IPS is an initiative in which tobacco buyers combine farming and marketing strategies by dealing directly with farmers in producing the leaf.
High Court Judge Joseph Mwanyungwa gave the injunction to the tobacco growers in Blantyre.
“Upon hearing counsel and reading the affidavit of counsel verifying the grounds for seeking judicial review; it is hereby ordered that the leave to move for judicial review be hereby granted to the applicant,” ruled Manyungwa.
According to a copy of the injunction that Zodiak online has in possession, six grower associations are against the shift from selling the bulk of tobacco from the traditional auction to contract buying.
Lawyer representing the grower associations Mr. Wapona Kita said government cannot implement the IPS now as it is not in line with the Malawi tobacco trade regulations.
“Government cannot implement the IPS initiative because it is anti-competitive. In every trade there is supposed to be competition and hence it is against trade regulations,“ said Kita.
Confirming the developments with Zodiak online, TCC Executive Officer Dr. Bruce Munthali said they have received the injunction and the regulator is consulting its lawyers.
“It is true we have the injunction. At the moment it is in the hands of our lawyers. We cannot discuss what we will do but as soon as we come with something we shall let the media know,” said Munthali.
This development has come about barely two weeks when government approved the implementation of IPS which was to start in the 2012/2013 tobacco growing season.