Tobacco Farmers Stranded with Harvest

Tobacco farmers in West Nile stranded with their harvest.

Audio 1

About 1,000 tobacco growers have petitioned the district authorities protesting against the failure of the tobacco companies to purchase tobacco stocks.

The tobacco growers have also threatened to sue the tobacco companies for breach of contract.

They claim that some companies signed contracts with the farmers promising to purchase the tobacco but only to disappear, leaving the farmers stuck with produce.

BAT, Leaf Tobacco and commodities (LTC) and Continental tobacco Uganda are the three major tobacco purchasing companies.

The West Nile region has for remained a major producer of tobacco and failure by the companies to purchase the tobacco has left the farmers stranded with no alternative. For this reason they are asking the district authorities to intervene and guarantee their sales.

Led by Charles Waga, the farmers blamed the middlemen for their plight.

Waga said that several middlemen have been purchasing the tobacco from Congo and selling it off to the companies before the farmers in the West Nile region could harvest theirs.

Wadri Sam Nyakua, the Arua district LC 5 chairman promised to follow up the matter with the companies. He says government must intervene and ask companies to enter into fresh negotiations with the farmers.

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Solomon Muyita, the BAT head of corporate and regulatory affairs says that after hitting ist purchasing targets, the company closed its doors for further purchases.

But officials from Leaf Tobacco and commodities (LTC) and Continental Tobacco have not responded to the farmers’ complaints.

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