CHIEF Chanje of the Chewa people in Chipata says farmers deserve better prices for their crops.
And chief Chanje says Tobacco Board of Zambia has started paying independent tobacco farmers who sold their produce to the board last year.
In an interview, chief Chanje, who met out-grower companies operating in his area to concretise the relationship that existed, said farmers’ livelihoods needed to change for the better.
“I encouraged out-grower companies to look at the welfare of the farmers. You know these companies operate from here but their farmers have remained poor. Sometimes, what causes this are the poor prices that are [offered] by out-grower companies,” chief Chanje said.
He said out-grower companies should also pay attention to corporate social responsibility.
“These farmers have children who are in school and again hospitals. Also, the out-grower companies should work on the roads in this area. So the
companies agreed that they would look at a number of issues that I raised,” chief Chanje said.
He said a lot of out-grower companies had not yet come up with prices for this season.
Chief Chanje said the farmers should also ensure that loans were paid back to the out-grower companies.
“I encouraged the farmers not to default so that the companies can also continue to help us. Every farmer is obliged to pay back the loans,” he said.
And chief Chanje said the Tobacco Board of Zambia (TBZ) had started paying independent growers who sold their produce to the board last year.
Chief Chanje also commended the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit for coming to the aid of flood victims in Kapasa area.