Integrated Production System –IPS also known as Contract Farming is said to be the answer to sustainable tobacco production as it enables tobacco growers in the country to grow the leaf in a sustainable manner by producing more from a small piece of land while at the same time conserving the environment.
Touring JTI Contract Growers lately, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Aggrey Masi MP, said he was impressed with the live barns that JTI is promoting in the helping preserve the environment project.
“I have visited a number of growers today who are contracted to JTI and everywhere I have gone, I have seen live barns. I am told it is one of the conditions JTI has set if one wants to grow tobacco with them. This is impressive and an answer to deforestation, partly blamed on tobacco production,” said Masi.
Roselyn Banda, a contracted grower with JTI told Masi that ever since she started growing the leaf under contract, she has been producing a lot of tobacco from the small piece of land that she owns unlike in the past when she was growing the leaf on her own.
“The hybrid seeds, farm input and extension services we receive from JTI enable us to produce more per hectare compared to the time we were growing on our own. What this means is that we have plenty of land to release to other crops such as maize or any commercial crop,” said Banda.
Banda said the new technology of curing tobacco using live barns which the company is encouraging also means deforestation blamed on tobacco production will be the thing of the past.
JTI Leaf Malawi Managing Director Fries Vanneste said IPS is all about business relation, working together with farmers to produce quality tobacco.
He said JTI looks at IPS as a continuous program that helps the company interact with its growers from the nursery all through to the market in order to help them realise a better price for the leaf.mbc