Villagers enter tobacco deal

The National,Tuesday July 5th, 2016

BRITISH American Tobacco has entered into a deal with Epulga villagers in Hagen Central, Western Highlands to buy 25-tonnes of tobacco annually.
Public Enterprises and State Investments Minister William Duma and British American Tobacco’s (BAT) general manager Michael Penrose last Friday launched the tobacco leaf-buying project.
Penrose told tobacco farmers that the company used to import tobacco leaves but now they wanted to buy from local farmers.
He said they wanted to work with tobacco growers to make them commercial tobacco farmers.
Penrose said the company had bought 13 tonnes from Epulga tobacco growers last year.
He urged the growers to grow more tobacco and sell it to the company.
Penrose said BAT officers would visit the village to buy tobacco three times a year.
He said the company would buy between 20 and 30 tonnes from the farmers.
Penrose said the project was in its infant stage and urged growers to maintain the quality.
Duma told the people that he would support them to grow more tobacco and earn more money.
He urged them to maintain the quality at all times and not to sell low quality tobacco leaves which could hurt their commercial relationship with the company.
Duma told the people that BAT was coming directly to their village to buy tobacco which was a big boost for the farmers.  BAT’s financial controller Peter Mell said if they sold 25-tonnes of high quality tobacco leaves, they would get around K560,000.