A TOBACCO commercial farmer in Eastern Province says the delay in concluding the presidential petition has adversely affected trade as buyers are not coming forth.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Chishala Chilufya said that the tobacco had piled up as businessmen and the Government system were not buying the crop at the rate that they would have had the matter been finalised as the Tobacco Board of Zambia ( TBZ) was unable to buy all the tobacco.
Mr Chilufya, who is MMD national agriculture chairperson, said that during the general election campaigns President-elect Edgar Lungu had pledged that Government would buy all the produce from farmers but with the stalled presidential petition famers had been put in an awkward position.
“On behalf of farmers we would like to express our displeasure with the delay of the presidential petition as it has adversely affected our business here in Eastern Province. Businessmen are not coming forth to buy our tobacco as they are waiting for the conclusion of the matter.
“The Tobacco Board of Zambia (TBZ) has minimal resources to buy all our produce; so the sooner the court case is concluded the better for our livelihoods.
‘‘President Edgar Lungu had promised us that Government will buy our tobacco but because of the same issue this has not yet materialised as there is not yet a full system in place,” he said.
He expressed disappointment with the Constitutional Court for going beyond its 14 days mandate in which to conclude the matter.
Mr Chilufya said that the distribution of farming inputs such as fertilizer would also be delayed and consequently affect the next farming season.
He said that the petition had brought about anxiety and uncertainty among farmers and had caused them financial losses.