The Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe has accused tobacco buyers of offering low prices to farmers and leaving them destitute for a long time.
Lowe said this on Wednesday when he signed a memorandum of understanding with nine tobacco buyers for the 2021 tobacco season.
“Tobacco farming is no longer appetizing, this has demotivated farmers and many of them have abandoned the crop,” he said.
He said this year, the country is expected to produce 122 million kilograms of tobacco yet tobacco buyers are demanding 132 million kilograms as their 2021 trade requirement.
This he said is a clear indication that more growers frustrated as such they have forsaken the crop and ventured into other alternative sources of livelihood.
Lowe added that it is evident that the lifestyle of tobacco buyers, cigarette manufacturers and other players in the tobacco value chain is far much ahead of the lifestyle of a main producer of the leaf.
The minister said that previously tobacco prices once peaked to a record-high of $11 per kilogram about K8, 470 but complained that such prices are unseen on the market in recent years as such he has pleaded with the buyers to offer higher prices during the 2021 tobacco selling season which will open next month.