A traditional leader in Chipata district has appealed to the Tobacco Board of Zambia (TBZ) to allow Eastern Fodya Association of Zambia (EFAZ) run tobacco floors this season.
Chief Chanje of the Chewa people says TBZ should not manage the floors as it was a regulatory body.
The chief says regardless of the challenges faced by the association, it should be allowed to manage the floors just like other associations in other provinces do.
In a letter to TBZ copied to Eastern Provincial and Chipata District Administrations, including the local authority and made available to ZANIS, Chief Chanje observed that the tobacco industry was a source of concern in the district because of alleged numerous changes in the
Associations to manage tobacco floors.
He also advised the local authority not to interfere in the operations of EFAZ and let TBZ to handle all issues concerning the management of tobacco in Chipata.
The traditional leader said in the interest of protecting the farmers, the local authority should not interfere with the management of tobacco.
Chief Chanje also appealed to government to give tobacco farmers fertiliser just like in the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) in order to protect them from exploitation by tobacco marketing companies.
He said the tobacco companies gave farmers fertiliser and bought the crop at a price they determined themselves.
The traditional leader said the floors commission the Association deducted from farmers could be used to buy the fertiliser which should be given to the farmers.
He further appealed to TBZ to encourage tobacco out-growers to plant trees as a way of mitigating the environmental impact.