TOBACCO farmers in Central Province are crying for support from various stakeholders to increase output of the crop.
Mr David Mumba, a farmer in Mkushi said tobacco farmers have not yet received their dues for 2015 despite the assurance and that demotivated growers.
“We are appealing to the relevant authorities to address the plight of a farmer, because to date we have not yet been paid and initially we were supposed to be last year in March, and thus 24 hours after delivery of products,” he said.
Mr Mumba said tobacco farmers invested a lot of money in production and they expected to benefit from their efforts through good prices.
“We need to get value for our produce because we spend a lot of money to cultivate and process it, most of the farmers used to spend nights in the cold and unfortunately with this year’s poor rains the production appears to be low,” he said.
Mr Mumba said the tobacco industry could double up its efforts to increase output if they were supported, adding that Government should intervene to have their money paid so that they prepared adequately for the next season.
He said tobacco was a high-value cash crop suitable for small-holder farming which had changed the lives of many Zambian farmers, and should be supported.
Mr Mumba said though farmers had been affected by unpredictable weather patterns, they were still trying their level best to put their products on markets.
He said tobacco farmers had been affected by current economic challenges which had hit not only affected Zambia but the entire world.