By CHATULA KANGALI –
THE Eastern Fodya Association of Zambia (EFAZ) has called for the establishment of a tobacco processing plant in Chipata in Eastern Province.
This is to reduce the cost of transportation of raw tobacco and promote value addition.
EFAZ president Franklyn Mwale said in an interview that there was need for a tobacco processing plant to be established in the district.
Mr Mwale said that farmers were currently transporting all the produce to Lusaka and Malawi were it was processed.
“Eastern Province produces a lot of tobacco; everything produced here goes to Lusaka for processing and this is proving to be costly in terms of transportation.
“So when a processing plant is opened here, the cost of production will be reduced,” he said.
Mr Mwale side establishing the processing plant in Chipata would encourage farmers in the province to grow more of the crop and further create jobs for local people.
He projected that this year’s production was expected to drop because most farmers had only planted flue-cured tobacco which was easy to sell.
Mr Mwale said that farmers were learning to grow the flue-cured tobacco and that not much was expected to be produced this year.
Mr Mwale said that most farmers in the province had stopped growing barley which was easy to grow but difficult to sell.
He said that only farmers that were supported by Japan Tobacco International had planted barley tobacco.