President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has asked newly appointed Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Dr. George Chaponda to clean up the mess surrounding the Tobacco industry or risk losing his Ministerial post.

Mutharika sounded the warning in the capital Lilongwe today when he was officially opening the 2016 Tobacco Selling season at Kanengo Auction Floors.

In his speech Mutharika, said the Tobacco Industry is facing a number of challenges one of it being the regulations act is outdated.

“First things first! Regulate the industry more efficiently. The Tobacco Act is outdated, and a review was already conducted. Minister of Agriculture, and Minister of Justice – this is your call! Parliamentarians – here is your duty! We must regulate new developments such the Integrated Production System (IPS) to support tobacco investors, protect quality and protect our farmers

“By the way, Minister of Agriculture – are you here? Much policy direction and action on the tobacco industry, and food security, depends on the Ministry of Agriculture. You are the new broom with an old history of sweeping wherever you have been. Sweep that Ministry, or I will sweep you! Sweep the industry! I am told already some buyers are not happy with Dr. Chaponda’s appointment because they know what they are sitting on! There is much work to be done!,” said Mutharika.

Mutharika also questioned the motive behind the formation of grower associations, saying the associations are a disadvantage to many farmers.

“I want sanity in the tobacco industry. Most of the so called grower associations are only exploiting farmers. They reap where they didn’t sow. Stop this nonsense. Scrutinize and vet all tobacco grower associations. Cut out the chaff! We need only those grower associations that provide valuable services to the farmer. No tobacco farmer must be deducted money for the associations which are not providing any useful services,” said Mutharika.

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