Deputy Minister of Agriculture Hussein Bashe explained that the tobacco trade has been conducted without local companies for a long time, as only foreign companies have been involved. He pointed out that during the period when foreign companies were involved in purchasing tobacco, production dropped to 42,000 tonnes. "However, the production has increased to 68,571 tonnes of tobacco through contract farming after the engagement of local companies", he was quoted as saying.
Bashe disclosed that in the tobacco markets for the 2020/2021 agricultural season, a total of nine companies are buying farmers' tobaccos including seven indigenous companies, the report said.
"However, these companies have been facing the challenge of getting enough capital, a situation that is causing delays in paying some farmers," the deputy minister told the National Assembly.
To address this problem, he pointed out that in May 2021 the Ministry of Agriculture brought together local companies and financial institutions to agree on soft terms that would enable them to obtain low-interest loans.
"The government is continuing its efforts to find a market for tobacco in various countries, especially in Arabia, Africa and Europe. In the 2020/21 season our country has successfully acquired new markets by selling tobacco experimentally in Romania (200 tonnes), Poland (100 tonnes) and Turkey (50 tonnes)," he added.