Christmas tobacco price ‘gift’ not quite what was wanted

More than 50,000 farmers in Migori County, Kenya, have been promised tobacco price rises, but the rises fall well short of what they had asked for, according to a Nairobi Star story relayed by Tobacco China Online.

Dry Tobacco

Dry tobacco leaves

Alliance One will now pay farmers Sh159 per kg for the highest grade while British American Tobacco will pay Sh158 for the same grade.

Previously, the highest grade had fetched Sh114 per kg (Alliance) and Sh113 per kg (BAT).

But the farmers had asked that the price for the highest grade be raised to at least Sh200 per kg.

In a statement that, if correctly reported, underlines much that is wrong with attitudes to leaf tobacco purchasing, the Alliance corporate affairs manager, Patrick Kimani, was said to have described the new price as a Christmas gift.

Meanwhile, farmers contracted to Mastermind Tobacco Kenya were said to be infuriated that the firm had yet to announce its new prices though the leaf markets had been open for a week.

They were seeking also Sh90 million said to be owed to them by Mastermind for tobacco delivered during the past two seasons.

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