The Tobacco Commission has called on tobacco growers in the country to respect human rights if the industry is to survive.
Speaking Wednesday ahead of the World Tobacco Growers Day commemorations on Thursday, the Commission’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Joseph Chidanti Malunga said respect for human rights in tobacco has never been more critical for Malawi.
“Today, globally, human rights issues in the industry are hot topics. We cannot, therefore, lag behind but fit ourselves in the discourse by ensuring compliance,” he said.
“Growers should avoid engaging child labour at any point,” Dr. Chidanti Malunga said, arguing “child labour denies the country the opportunity to have enlightened tobacco growers in future as the children involved do not proceed with their education”.
He said educated citizens can become successful tobacco farmers because it will be easier for them to fit into the industry that is changing.
The Commission recently said would be signing a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Geneva-based Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Foundation (ECLT) to strengthen the fight against child labour in the tobacco industry in Malawi.
The World Tobacco Growers Day is this year being commemorated under the theme ‘Ending Child Labour Today Requires Instant Action’.
Meanwhile, the Tobacco Commission says is excited with the Amended Employment Act that, among others, outlaws the tenancy system.
According to the Commission, eliminating tenancy in tobacco alongside child labour will make Malawi’s leaf more attractive on the global market.
Tobacco remains Malawi’s economic backbone.