This year’s tobacco growers registration exercise has attracted less farmers with the figures declining from last year’s 58 000, but the Tobacco Control Commission says this is a result of its initiative to remove the bogus growers.
The registration period was extended up to January 31st from November as farmers were registering at a snail’s pace.
Speaking in an interview a week before the entire exercise closes, Tobacco Control Commission Chief Executive Officer Dr Bruce Munthali said the commission has so far registered 30 000 farmers comparing to last year’s 58 000.
“We have currently registered 30 000 growers and last year we had 58 000 representing a 93% decrease.
“We are still registering the growers up to January 31st but we have imposed a penalty to those who will come late.”
Munthali said in an interview.
The exercise was supposed to end by end November, but it was extended due to lower turn up of farmers and by then only 20% of the required number was attained.
However, while acknowledging the slow pace of registration, the TCC boss said they have deliberately reduced the number of growers by removing the bogus growers.
According to Munthali some traders were abusing the system by registering more than once –which he said is not recommended.
“This was creating a false picture of the number of tobacco growers in the country and so we were only trying to get the real figures.” Said Munthali

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