NTRM is anything that is not tobacco such as plastic, feathers, fur, egg shells, sand, metals among other items that can be found in graded and baled tobacco.
Tobacco should be hundred percent free of any foreign material. Non-tobacco related materials (NTRM) are of great concern as, if found, they have the capacity to destroy Malawi’s entire tobacco industry.
As the season draws to the close, farmers should continue being meticulous and not get weary in ensuring that non-tobacco related material does not find its way into the bales.
For instance, if a strand of wire finds its way into the bale and ultimately to the processing plant, it has the potential to spin out of the machine and injure machine operators or it can break delicate parts of machines which are only meant to thresh tobacco and not handle hard materials, resulting in unnecessary down-time and huge losses.
If someone finds a piece of plastic or anything that is not tobacco in a cigarette, they can sue the manufacturer of that cigarette as plastic if smoked, can cause cancer. Tobacco is traceable and international buyers having incurred huge amounts in law suits would not be interested in trading with Malawi, thereby negatively impacting on our reputation as a country.
Tobacco should be hundred percent free of any foreign material.
NTRM, unlike nesting which is deliberate hiding of inferior tobacco or non-tobacco related materials such as rocks in a bid to deceive buyers and to increase bale weight, NTRM usually is accidental and happens because a farmer has not taken due diligence during plucking, transferring, curing, grading or bailing.
As a result, it is important for farmers to control weeds proliferation until the end of the harvest as doing this assures greater productivity, better quality as well as reduces foreign material.