Tag: tobacco

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Buyers in Malawi told to ‘stop growing tobacco’

| November 9, 2015

AHL Group of Companies, Malawi’s sole tobacco and other commodities dealing company, has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to consider reversing its decision to allow tobacco multinationals to grow tobacco, according to Malawi24. AHL Group says the policy is hurting ordinary tobacco farmers.

AHL Group’s general manager, Moses Yakobe, has urged the government to bar tobacco multinationals from owning big farms and growing tobacco.

“The question is, what will smallholder farmers do if the business of growing tobacco is also being done by these companies?” Yakobe asked during the official launch of 2015 field meetings and the best burley club award presentation ceremony in Lilongwe.

Speaking during the same function, Kapichila Banda, president of the Farmers Union of Malawi, concurred with Yakobe, pointing out that farmers are not currently making profits because the demand is being swallowed by the multinational tobacco companies who grow tobacco in large quantities.

“This is very dangerous to our smallholder farmers,” said Banda.

At the function, AHL Group, which has been buying tobacco for the past 80 years, awarded K500,000 to Kanthunkako Burley Club, the winner of the 2015 club of the year competition.

Subsidiary companies under AHL Group include Agriculture Trading Company, Malawi Leaf Company and Tobacco Investment, among others.

Purwanto joins TSAL as technical sales manager

| September 14, 2015

Tobacco Solutions Asia Limited (TSAL), an engineering solutions firm that has designed and developed some of the world’s smallest tobacco processing equipment, has appointed Arif Purwanto to the newly created position of technical sales manager for the Indonesian region, effective Oct. 1. Purwanto will assist the TSAL team in marketing TSAL products and services to a target portfolio of cigarette manufacturing factories in Indonesia. He will report to group CEO Dr. Iqbal Lambat and operate out of the FELI Denpasar Bali office in Indonesia.

Purwanto has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Sunan Giri University Surabaya. He has over 17 years of experience in machining and engineering, including four years spent heading up G.D Italy’s QA Equipment strategy in Indonesia. Purwanto is of Indonesian nationality and fluent in both Bahasa and English.

U.S. Tobacco Cooperative pays member growers $5.6 million in cash dividend

| July 9, 2015

The board of directors of the U.S. Tobacco Cooperative (USTC)—a leading producer and processor of high-quality U.S. flue-cured tobacco headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA—has declared a patronage dividend of $0.17 per pound of tobacco sold to the Cooperative during fiscal year 2015.

The total dividend for fiscal year 2015 was $10.7 million, a 9.1 percent increase over the previous year’s dividend. The Cooperative has authorized a cash payment of $0.09 cents per pound to be paid immediately and to allocate $0.08 cents per pound to each grower’s account in certificates of interest.

The board of directors also authorized the Cooperative to pass its $7.3 million Section 199 Domestic Production Activities Deduction to its growers—an average of $0.116 per pound. Although the Cooperative is entitled to take this tax deduction on its federal income taxes, the company will instead pass the deduction along to its growers. The tax deduction is intended to offset the taxes owed on the cash dividend for growers who are able to take advantage of it.

“The past year has brought many changes in our business and many challenges,” chairman Jimmy Hill and CEO Stuart Thompson stated in a press release. “Your Cooperative is undergoing significant changes to position USTC as the premier U.S. leaf supplier. Our board and management team are deeply committed to looking for ways to maximize patronage dividends. We are the only U.S. leaf supplier that reinvests its profits in its grower base. Over the last five years, the Cooperative has declared dividends totaling $37.9 million. You produce the highest quality, most compliant, most sustainable tobacco crop in the world. We want to encourage you in your commitment to excellence. Tobacco manufacturers are demanding more and more from you. We want to do everything we can to support and reward you for your efforts.”

China plans to grow tobacco in Crimea

| June 5, 2015

The Crimean government has announced that a visiting delegation of Chinese businessmen intend to invest in tobacco cultivation within the territory, which was annexed by Russia in March 2014. Chinese equipment and technology would be supplied to the semiautonomous territory, which has been fighting to secure foreign investment amid trade sanctions imposed by Ukraine, the United States and the European Union following Russia’s annexation of the region.

“Tobacco is in huge demand in China, and Crimea has a suitable climate and soil for tobacco cultivation,” the delegation’s leader, Chen Zhijun, was quoted by news agency TASS as saying at a meeting with Crimean leader Sergei Aksyonov.

Aksyonov and Chen on June 4 signed a protocol on investment cooperation, according to a press release posted on the Crimean government’s website.

Minnesota company uses tobacco to fight cancer

| May 14, 2015

A Minnesota-based startup company called MNPHARM plans to use tobacco plants to produce personalized treatments for patients battling cancer.  Founded by Jeff Reinert and Dave Roeser, MNPHARM uses a process that combines technological advances in controlled indoor atmosphere and biochemistry to transform a plant that is frequently associated with causing cancer into one with the potential to produce lifesaving cancer antibodies.

Using proprietary equipment, MNPHARM grows highly transgenic tobacco plants in a controlled indoor environment. Medical professionals then use a biopsy taken from a cancer patient to introduce some of the patient’s DNA to a bacterium, which is injected into the growing plant. Once the plant has been infiltrated with a reagent containing a specific genetic code, it becomes a “factory” that produces antibodies, vaccines and proteins. The antibodies the infiltrated tobacco plant produces make it possible for the plant to fight off the infection. The antibodies are then extracted from the purified tobacco plant and injected back into the patient, helping them to fight their cancer.

MNPHARM’s patented cylinder growing system, called “orbital gardens,” allow the company to produce antibodies and vaccines in tobacco plants in as few as six days—approximately 30 times faster than traditional cancer-fighting methods. Providing cancer patients with rapid access to treatments is part of the company’s goal to replace outdated traditional treatment methods for complex protein production with the faster, safer and less-expensive methods involving transgenic plants.

The company—which is currently in discussions with Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota and the University of California to begin research—has also initiated fundraising efforts in order to ready the business for production of personalized cancer treatments. A funding site on Indiegogo has raised more than $10,000 of the $42,000 needed to complete testing and begin production.

Egypt to construct tobacco-processing factories 

| April 23, 2015

The Egyptian government plans to construct two tobacco-processing factories in Malawi to support the country’s tobacco industry, according to the Malawi News Agency.

The Egyptian Ambassador to Malawi, Maher El-Adawy, said the construction of these factories will help spur economic growth because the crop is regarded as the country’s main forex earner.

“We have always been in a good relationship with Malawi, and we are happy to support it, especially in the tobacco industry because we know that tobacco is the main forex earner, and by doing so we will help the country’s economy to grow,” El-Adawy said.

El-Adawy also indicated that construction of the two factories will not only spark economic growth, but also aid in job creation.

“We believe the construction of the two factories will also create employment for some quarters of the Malawian society thereby helping them to improve their lives,” he said.

According to the World Bank, 90 percent of Malawi’s tobacco is exported to other countries for processing due to the country’s currently limited tobacco-processing capabilities.

“Much of our tobacco is exported for processing because we do not have the capacity to do so,” said Malawi’s minister of information, tourism and culture, Kondwani Nankhumwa. “So by having these two tobacco processing factories, Malawi will start processing the tobacco on its own and sell the products on our own for a profit.”

One factory will be built in Lilongwe; the location for the second factory is still being decided by the government. Construction of both factories is expected to begin soon, according to El-Adawy.

Malawi is one of the top 10 producers of tobacco in the world, with the crop accounting for the majority of the country’s agricultural export earnings.