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Mastermind Tobacco kicked out of Migori

26 November 2013, 16:57

Migori - Migori County government has banned Mastermind Tobacco Company from doing business in the County and is negotiating with British America Tobacco (BAT) and Alliance One which are offering better prices for tobacco.

Deputy Governor, Mwita Mahanga, said the decision was reached after several stakeholders’ meetings, and warned that any farmer doing business with the company will be doing so at their own risk as the County will only engage with genuine investors and not ‘hawkers’.

Tobacco trading in the County has temporarily stopped as the two firms negotiate prices from the current KES170 to over KES 200 per kilo. The negotiations came after tobacco farmers through their union Kenya Tobacco Farmers Association (KETOFA) complained of poor pricing.

Migori produces about 70 percent of tobacco in the country and even though the crop has been planted in the area for the past two decades, farmers are still wallowing in abject poverty.

“We are looking for better prices for farmers who have been suffering while companies mint a lot of money from the product,” Mahanga said in a statement sent to the press.

A committee comprising KETOFA, the two tobacco companies and the County government represented by the Executive for Agriculture, Moses Chamwada, and his counterpart for Environment, Polycarp Ating’a, will set the price.

The committee will later communicate the set price and new leaf grading measures to farmers once they settle on new figures.

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