AHL Group continues to help the production of high quality tobacco in the country by awarding burley clubs in all the country’s three regions for emerging the best performing clubs in the 2015 tobacco marketing season.
Speaking after handing over cheques to the winning clubs during all the award presentation ceremonies, AHL Group Tobacco Sales General Manager Mr. Moses Yakobe said that the Group is encouraging farmers to be producing high quality tobacco.
“Through the best burley performing farmer’s club award we want as a company to encourage farmers to focus on quality tobacco which in return will be fetching better prices on the market,” said Mr. Yakobe.
The Tobacco Sales General Manager further said through the award, subsistence farmers are helped to continue producing best tobacco through the prize money of five hundred Kwacha which increases their farming capital and in addition other clubs are also motivated to emulate what their friends have achieved.
Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) President Mr. Alfred Kapichira Banda was the guest of honor during the central region award presentation ceremony held at Nambuma Extension Planning Area (EPA) in Dowa. He commended AHL Group for continuing the award initiative saying that it is one way of giving back to its valued stakeholder which is the farmer.
Mr. Kapichira encouraged the farmers to be selling their tobacco on auction market because it promotes competition and regulates prices in favour of the growers.
Speaking at a similar function at Lufita in Chitipa, Traditional Authority Mwaulambya encouraged his people to work hard in their fields and take good care of their tobacco to continue winning the award.
Agreeing with the speech by the T/A, Karonga ADD Program Manager Mr. Wellington Phewa said he was happy to see farmers of his territory receiving the award.
The winning clubs of 2015 included Mwanyula, Kanthumkako and Chitokolo from the north, central and south respectively. Each club received five hundred thousand Kwacha and a trophy.
Draws to determine the winning clubs are done at regional level whereby the winning club from each region is found among the clubs which sell their tobacco at the floors of that region.
Disclosing the selection criteria during the award presentation ceremonies, a representative from AHL Group’s internal audit department told the farmers that only clubs that had a chance to win were those that sold their tobacco on auction market and should have sold not less than one thousand five hundred kilograms at the highest average price and their tobacco grades ranged from grade one to three.
Kanthumkako club chairman Mr. Amackson Adiere commended AHL Group for the award saying it would help to boost their capital in preparation for the 2016 tobacco marketing season.
Mr. Adiere said the secret to winning the award was hardworking spirit among the club members.
“We take very good care of our tobacco at each and every stage of production. We prepare our nurseries in good time and water them adequately. When planting in the fields we maintain good spacing, apply relevant and enough fertilizers in good time. We also store our tobacco in well-constructed and properly roofed shades. Finally we skillfully grade our tobacco and when bailing we don’t mix grades in one bail,” explained Adiere.