The Tobacco Commission (TC) has described traditional leaders and the police as critical stakeholders in the smooth implementation of the new Tobacco Act.
The Tobacco Industry Act, which was enacted last year, seeks to improve tobacco production by among others, flushing out illicit traders and ending child labour.
Speaking at a sensitization meeting with traditional and the police in Lilongwe, Hellings Nasoni, TC Cooperate Planning and Development Manager said Malawians need to rally behind the Act for the improvement of the tobacco industry and farmer’s welfare.
“The Commission saw it fit that we needed to involve and engage the Police to make sure that we create awareness of the provisions in the Act so that when issues of this nature requires enforcement we receive much support and also there is knowledge on their part,” he said.
Nasoni also highlighted that the Act is doing tremendous in the fight against child labour in tobacco estates.
“In the central region we produce a lot of tobacco and there are a lot of estates that’s why we involve the teams around central region; both chiefs and police about this law which prohibits use of child labour in tobacco value chain,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Semawati Chisale, hailed TC for the engagement saying it will go a long way in ensuring that people are complying with the provisions of the Act.
“This training is the first of its kind which the Commission for the Police, as law enforcement officers it will help us a lot in matters relating to child labour,” Chisale said.
Senior Chief Khongoni of Lilongwe pledged continued support towards disseminating information in regards to the Act to her subjects.
“This meeting is timely and informative to us as chiefs towards eradicating issues of child labour in our villages and I am ready to relay the message to my subjects,” he said.