Mafwe Youth Forum voices support for tobacco plantation

17 Jun 2015 09:50am
KATIMA MULILO, 17 JUN (NAMPA) – The Chairperson of the Mafwe Youth Forum has called on the management of the planned Liselo tobacco project to pay a certain percentage of its profit to the Mafwe Traditional Authority once approved by Government.
On Monday, Linus Matongo told Nampa the project management of Namibia Oriental Tobacco should further look into compensating Liselo villagers whose crop fields fall under the earmarked land and as a result will be affected by the creation of the tobacco and vegetable project.
Matongo added that should the project, valued at N.dollars 1 billion, be created, management should ensure that of the 3 000 jobs it will create, 1 500 residents from Liselo, Kasheshe and immediate surrounding areas, will be employed.
“The management must ensure that the locals of Liselo and Kasheshe are not exploited for selfish benefits. They must also pay some of their profits to the Mafwe Traditional Authority, on whose land the project is to be set,” said Matongo.
His calls come after he publicly voiced the forum’s support for the creation of the tobacco project during a community meeting last weekend.
“The forum, including the communities represented, are all in support of plans by private investors to set up a tobacco plantation at Katima Mulilo.
“Allow me to clarify the misinformation that has been circulating. The rumours that all people in Zambezi are not supporting the plantation are being spread by certain individuals who wanted the same tobacco project to be in their areas,” Matongo said.
He reiterated that should the project kick off after Government’s approval, many unemployed youths from the Liselo area, including from other parts of the region, will get temporary or permanent employment.
Matongo, who said the project will have vast benefits as it outweighs the disadvantages associated with tobacco plantation in a country, added that since the announcing of plans to start such a project, there has been mixed public views on it.
“I am calling on those who are against the project to think of the unemployed people, especially the youth. We should refrain from insulting each other.
“We need this type of project if we are to assist the government in eradicating poverty, as it creates jobs and increase the standard of living for our people,' he said.
The meeting was attended by several Mafwe Traditional Authority headmen.
At the meeting, public speakers highlighted that Namibia will not be the only country in Africa that grows tobacco. The speakers were of the opinion that the tobacco plantation holds the potential for great economic benefit.
In Africa, countries such as Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa, are some of the world’s largest tobacco exporters.