Tobacco farmers in Kanungu district are excited following the decision by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to lift the ban on Continental Tobacco Company limited. In October last year, the Ministry of Trade and Industry revocked the license of Continental Tobacco Company limited citing recommendations from the Parliamentary committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. The committee recommended the suspension of the license of Continental Tobacco Company Limited following numerous complaints from tobacco farmers.
As a result, the ministry banned the company from buying tobacco from farmers. The ban left more than 2000 farmers in Kanungu district stuck with over 400 tons of Tobacco. Farmers in Nyamirama, Kihiihi, Nyakinoni and Nyanga sub counties all in Kanungu district were most hit as they were being supported by the company. However, the ministry has revoked the ban and allowed Continental Tobacco Company limited to resume its operations. In a March 4th letter addressed to Kanungu LC V chairperson, Ambassador Julius Onen, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Trade and industry, says Continental Tobacco Ltd has cleared its financial obligations with government and is now free to go ahead and purchase Tobacco.
Nelson Natukunda, a tobacco farmer who also doubles as the LC III chairperson of Kihiihi Sub County has welcomed the lifting of the ban on the operations of the company. He says the decision to ban the company left many farmers without any alternative source of income. He however, says that they hope to recover from the losses once the company resumes full operations. Natukunda says that he had invested 3 million shillings and hoped to realize 7 million shillings when the company was banned but only realized 4 million shillings.
Juliet Tushemereirwa, a resident of Nyamirama Sub County says the lifting of the ban is a big relief. She hopes the resumption of its operations will boost their household incomes. Lazarus Kagirehe, the Kanungu district commercial officer has confirmed receiving a copy of the letter from the ministry lifting the ban on continental tobacco company to resume operations. He says the prayers of the farmers who were affected by the ban have been answered.