JAPAN Tobacco International (JTI) has said it was the only tobacco company that was encouraging farmers to plant trees.
JTI Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager Litiya Matakala said yesterday that it was the responsibility and mandatory in the contracts with the farmers to be planting trees.
On Tuesday, Chief Chanje threatened to ban growing of tobacco in his chiefdom if environment was not preserved.
Mr Matakala said JTI farmers have reached 100 percent of the tree planting in Eastern Province.
He explained that JTI was the only out- grower company that was promoting the protection of the environment through tree planting.
Mr Matakala explained that the farmers started the programme of planting trees about three years ago.
“We have 300 farmers there (in Chief Chanje) who are on the forefront of planting trees. This is the company’s responsibility to do so and we started the programme of planting trees in 2013,”he said.
And Eastern Fodya Association of Zambia (EFAZ) chairperson Franklyn Mwale said the farmers who had grown tobacco under Tombwe had responded favourably by planting trees.
Mr Mwale said this was after Chief Zumwanda of the Chewa people in Lundazi District also threatened to ban the growing of tobacco because of causing deforestation mainly during the curling of tobacco.
Mr Mwale promised to seek an audience with Chief Chanje to find- out about the way forward after the threats to stop the growing of tobacco in his chiefdom.