This year’s Africa Regional Meeting for the International Tobacco Growers Association took place at the Sogecoa Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe, Malawi. The official opening was by the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Honourable Dr. Allan Chiyembekeza, MP.
The ITGA President Francois Van der Merwe encouraged tobacco growers and all stakeholders not to get worried with the arguments being made by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), as it is just their bread and batter to be negative about tobacco. “Do not be negative about tobacco. These people get their money out of speaking against tobacco and nothing else,” he said.
He however, hinted that due to global over production of the crop, prices have been compromised around the world. For this reason he advised tobacco growing countries to ensure controlling the production levels. He further encouraged member countries to ensure diversifying so that growers should always have a complimentary crop at a time when tobacco may not be profitable.
Presenting the activities of ITGA, The Chief Executive Officer for the ITGA Mr. Antonio Abrunhosa advised the participating countries to join the Asian friends who have vehemently protested the efforts of France to impose and implement the plain packaging for cigarettes.
The ITGA summit gathered together delegates from Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa and hosts- Malawi