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JTI to promote live tobacco barns

12 May 2022. JTI Leaf (Malawi) Limited says it will stop buying tobacco from farmers who will not not be curing their tobacco leaf in live barns by 2025, reports The Nation.

The company’s managing director John Gauna announced this when he conducted live barns maintenance at Chitukula in Lilongwe as part of fostering sustainable tobacco production. According to the report, he said tree-planting and management is at the core of JTI Leaf’s sustainable business model to ensure long-term supply of quality leaf.

Gauna said JTI Leaf is promoting the use of live barns to reduce reliance on natural woodlands for construction materials and carbon emissions in the tobacco production chain. “We have made it a policy that JTI will not buy tobacco from any individual grower who is not interested in growing, taking care of trees as well as using live barns. Trees are part of the tobacco crop. No trees no tobacco and therefore no contract with us.”

JTI Leaf Malawi introduced the live barn concept in 2013. Nine years later, the firm has planted 7.6 million trees, translating in 39,914 live barns. Out of these barns, 4,778 are operational and the company has recorded an 84 per cent survival rate. Tobacco remains Malawi’s main foreign exchange earner, bringing in 60 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and contributing about 13 per cent to the overall economy.