Government has said time has come for taxes especially those that are being borne by farmers within the tobacco industry to be reveiwed for the benefit of smallholder farmers.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food security, Hon. Agness Nkusa Nkhoma, M.P, said this when she visited Lilongwe Auction floors on Thursday, 30th July 2020 to check on the progress of the Tobacco marketing season.
“Despite the good prices that the tobacco is being sold at the market, farmers are being taxed too much. This is a policy that government needs to review so that farmers should benefit more,” said Nkusa Nkhoma.
The Minister said that she was impressed with the progress the Tobacco market is making and the prices at which the tobacco is being sold in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tobacco Commission Chief Executive Officer, Kayisi Sadala said that as a commission the market seems to be proceeding smoothly despite the low volume of the projected tobacco, which has been caused by the change in weather patterns and it has not only affected Malawi but other neighbouring countries as well.
“Due to the low volume of tobacco, the rejected rates on the auction floors is lower because there’s high competition amongst the buyers. The tobacco market season is about to end and most buyers want to make up for the stocks they haven’t acquired from their contract tobacco,” explained Sadala.
Sadala agreed with Nkusa Nkhoma on the high taxation that is being experienced by the growers. He said high charges are being imposed on the growers as they are forced to acquire their inputs from their contractors at a higher price than the standard market prices for farm inputs.
Overall, 92 million kilograms of tobacco has been sold and 140 million dollars has been made thus far, which is lower than what was made last year. However, this year’s prices are much better as compared to last years.