Tobacco farmers ‘guard’ against middlemen

By Staff Reporter

Tobacco farmers have threatened to report the tobacco merchants to the police for allegedly attempting to swindle them.

And Tobacco Board of Zambia (TBZ) Chief Executive Officer James Kasongo said it was shameful that some government officials were supporting merchants in their continued abrogation of the law.

Speaking during a stakeholders meeting held at Southern Sun hotel in Lusaka on Wednesday the farmers said the behaviour of merchants that have been holding on to the 2% contribution could only be described as theft as the money belonged to the government.

And a farmer Chilufya Chishala from Eastern Province prodded government to enforce the new law, which bans merchants from collecting money from farmers before the latter took citizens action.

“Farmers who are the owners of the money will now be forced to report the merchants to the police to ensure that the money is recovered,” said Chishala

He has since demanded that the merchants pay the money expeditiously before the close of the year.

Kasongo said it is disheartening to note that some officials within the system seem to be siding with the merchants, hence giving them powers thereby disadvantaging the farmer and government at large.