The Tobacco Board of Zambia (TBZ) has said that strong measures have been put in place to improve transparency and efficiency ahead of the 2015 crop marketing season, according to a story in The Post.
The TBZ’s CEO Samson Muyembe was quoted as saying that new security measures, such as the inclusion of CCTV cameras on the main tobacco floors, had been installed so as to avoid the ‘lack of transparency that blighted the industry in the 2014 season’.
“We are ensuring that TAZ [Tobacco Association of Zambia] works according to the laid-down procedures,” he said. “They have put up CCTV accessories and electronic scales which is very good for us and the farmers. It means when they are weighing, the farmer will also see the weight of tobacco and it is not something that is hidden.” Muyembe said also that Tombwe Processing Ltd, whose licence had been revoked in May for not adhering to the rules governing tobacco buying, had improved on compliance. “There is a lot of collaboration in terms of tobacco levy, which was not being paid,” he said. “This time, they are now complying.”
Confidence levels were high that all other market players would adhere to all of the rules governing tobacco trade, he added. At the same time, Muyembe urged tobacco growers to grade their produce properly to ensure that they got the best possible price once the season got underway.
“The US$0.30 [per kg] should be the lowest quality of tobacco,” he said. “But the highest quality of tobacco was going up to US$2-US$3 per kg and it depended on the presentation of tobacco. My only advice is for farmers to ensure that they grade their produce properly and fertilize it nicely. Once all the aspects are done nicely, even the price will go up.”