Advertisement

Tobacco farmers in Migori demand Sh50m dues from cigarette company

Tuesday October 4 2016

The farmers have threatened to sue the firm if the debt is not settled in the next two weeks.

A farmer inspects his tobacco crop. Farmers in Migori have given Mastermind Tobacco Kenya Ltd a two-week ultimatum to pay them their dues amounting to over Sh50 million. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IN SUMMARY

  • The farmers also accused the cigarette manufacturer of exploitation, especially after the exit of Alliance One Tobacco.
  • Mr John Chacha, a farmer from Kuria West said the firm has been ignoring their calls for increased pay.
  • Mastermind officials said they were still waiting for funds to be disbursed from their headquarters for them to pay the famers.
  • On leaf pricing, they said the cost of the cash crop was dictated by supply and demand on the world market.

Advertisement

Tobacco farmers in Migori County have demanded the payment of their dues from Mastermind Tobacco Kenya Ltd amounting to more than Sh50 million.

The farmers have threatened to sue the firm if the debt is not settled in the next two weeks.

The growers from Kuria East, Kuria West, Suna West and Uriri sub-counties have accused the company of giving them empty promises whenever they raised the matter.

“We are only being taken around in circles. It is our view, therefore, that only the courts will come to our aid,” said Mr John Mokami, a farmer from Subakuria Village.

EXPLOITATION

The farmers also accused the cigarette manufacturer of exploitation, especially after the exit of the giant leaf merchant - Alliance One Tobacco – from the region.

“The costs of living and farm inputs have gone up tremendously and we need the multinationals to cushion farmers from unnecessary loses by paying our debts in time,” said Mr Lucas Owili, a farmer from Uriri Sub-County.

He described tobacco farming as a “time-consuming and energy-sapping venture” that needs proper and timely remuneration.

Advertisement

QUIT TOBACCO FARMING

Mr John Chacha, a farmer from Kuria West said the firm has been ignoring their calls for increased pay.

“Some of us will quit tobacco farming if the pay is not reviewed upwards. The company has introduced many leaf grading systems in a bid to confuse us,” he said.

Contacted, Mastermind officials, who spoke to the Nation on condition of anonymity, said they were still waiting for funds to be disbursed from their headquarters for them to pay the famers.

“We are aware of their debts but let them remain calm. They will get paid ultimately,” said one of the employees.

On leaf pricing, he said the cost of the cash crop was dictated by supply and demand on the world market.

“We are in business and we cannot deviate from the established standards of determining the leaf price,” said the employee.

More From Daily Nation
Advertisement
This page might use cookies if your analytics vendor requires them. Accept