CHIEF Chanje of the Chewa people has asked government to make Mgubudu tobacco floors operational so that people are not enslaved
traveling long distances in search for markets.
In a statement issued yesterday, chief Chanje said the government loses a lot of money in terms of taxes as some tobacco farmers sell their commodity outside the country.
“Let Mgubudu tobacco floor and others be operational this year. I am asking Tobacco Board of Zambia and government at large to think over
this issue. Let government make these floors operational rather than enslaving people who travel long distances to look for market,” chief Chanje said.
He said once Mgubudu and other floors were open, the government could get a lot of money through taxes, which it could use to build schools, hospitals and roads.
“Mgubudu floors caters for people from my chiefdom, chief Chinunda, chieftainess Mkanda, chief Mshawa, chieftainess Mwasemphangwe and
Chikomeni. Don’t let our levies or taxes go to other countries by not giving our farmers more markets where tobacco is grown,” chief Chanje said.
He said opening more tobacco markets would, among other things, create employment opportunities among the local people.
“We are not going to allow anyone to bring down the tobacco industry in this country. If people are failing to work, replace them with others who can work better,” chief Chanje said.
He said despite the dry spell, tobacco had done well in most chiefdoms.
Chief Chanje also appealed to farmers in his area to pay back loans to tobacco outgrower companies.