TOBACCO farmers in Kaoma and Nkeyema districts in Western Province have bemoaned the low price and methods being used by Tobacco Merchant Alliance One Zambia to purchase their crop.
The farmers said they had been spending nights at the company’s sheds hoping that the price, now ranging between K1 to K7.50, will be increased.
Dennis Malupenga and John Susiku of Kalumwange in Chief Kasimba’s area said Alliance One Zambia was undervaluing their tobacco and rejecting some of their crop on account of it being ‘excess’.
Victor Mananga of Kaoma North said farmers were given labour wages and spent an average of K6,000 per hectare which cannot be recovered with the prices being offered by the company.
But Alliance One Zambia manager Hillary Chanda dispelled the farmers’ accusations and explained that the company was limiting the amount of tobacco being bought from each farmer based on their hectarage.
Mr Chanda said Alliance One Zambia was only buying tobacco from its sponsored farmers to prevent them from defaulting their loan repayments when unscrupulous tobacco dealers invade the area to buy tobacco cheaply from the farmers.
He said Alliance One Zambia was only buying an average of 1,000 kilogrammes per hectare with an allowance of 20 per cent based on crop estimates for each individual farmer. –ZANIS