By Kenson McCloud
President Lazarus Chakwera has officially opened the 2021 tobacco marketing season with a call for farmers to diversify and refrain from use of child labour.
Speaking on Tuesday, Chakwera observed that the tobacco industry is facing serious challenges that need collective efforts to be addressed and also warned buyers against duping farmers by offering dismal prices.
According to Chakwera one of the harsh realities is that "globally the tobacco industry is declining and there is need as a country to devise an exit strategy."
The president added that the ministry of agriculture needs to work with farmers to identify alternative crops to replace tobacco.
He went on to say, "Child labour is a huge setback which has seen other countries like the United States banning importation of the local tobacco due to the malpractice."
He has since called for the relevant ministries to collaborate in resolving the issue.