The Zambia National Farmers’ Union is concerned with some individuals that have been purporting to represent farmers and bringing confusion in the tobacco industry.
ZNFU Media and Public Relations Manager Calvin Kaleyi says lately, a Chilufya Chishala has been issuing statements surrounding the tobacco industry that have no substance but full of innuendos and malice.
Mr. Kaleyi said Mr. Chishala should stop masquerading as a farmers’ spokesperson, Tobacco Board of Zambia spokesperson and government spokesperson saying if indeed he is a farmer, his role is to produce crop and allow TBZ to handle policy issues together with the Ministry of Agriculture.
He said his attacks on authority are irresponsible as the doors for dialogue and consultation with relevant authority are always open to engage with.
Mr. Kaleyi said the problems in the tobacco industry have been existing for years and what the Ministry of agriculture is doing is just to correct the situation and sanitise it.
He said the non-sponsored tobacco Mr. Chishala is howling about over the 10 to 20% is smuggled into the country from Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania and this should not cause problems to genuine farmers who have cultivated the crop using correct laid down procedures.
Mr. Kaleyi said the no sponsored tobacco farmers who are genuine are not complaining as the 2% levy he is talking about is none of his business but that of TBZ, who in this case have authority to handle the matter together with merchants.
He said the Union is aware of the happenings at TBZ and if Mr. Chishala, who is actually a sent force, does not stop his unwarranted ranting over sector developments the Union shall be prompted to expose all that he has been doing and the goings on at TBZ, and how Mr. Chishala has been hooked in.
Mr. Kaleyi said the Union would also like to know his role at TBZ since he has no farmer constituency.
And since Mr. Chishala is always talking referring to Malawi, the Union is prompted to say what activities he had undertook in that country between 2007 and 2012 before they expose him.
Mr. Kaleyi said the Union shall also expose what he owes merchants so that the truth is known and what his motive is.
He said the Union is aware of his entire cartel bent on destroying the local tobacco industry for selfish motives and has urged Mr. Chishala to stop being ridiculous, a rubble rouser, and bringing confusion in the tobacco sector.