The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has extended the tobacco registration period for the 2016/17 tobacco growing season to December.
The exercise, which started in August, was expected to end on November 30 and as at November 29 atleast 63 000 growers had registered out of the targeted 150 000.
In an interview on Wednesday, TCC chief executive officer Albert Changaya said the commission had run out of registration cards for three weeks, a development which had affected the progress of the registration exercise.
Said Changaya: Our supplier was yet to get them from China, which also delayed our registration exercise. But this has been resolved now and we are back on track.
“We are registering on average about 1 500 growers daily and we are hoping that if this trend continues, we will register all the remaining 87 000 growers soon.”
He explained that because of the delay, the commission has extended the registration exercise to a date to be agreed upon when the commission meets, which will also depend on the tobacco growers turn-out to the registration centres.
He revealed that the commission this year, has implemented a new system of registration, where growers are charged K6 per kilogramme (kg) of the tobacco they want to produce when registering as opposed to being charged per bale—an average tobacco bale weighs 100 kg.
Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) president Alfred Kapichira-Banda said in an interview that tobacco growers are hoping for a better tobacco marketing season next year following a poor season this year, which was characterised by high rejection rates and low prices due to overproduction of the leaf.
This year, buyers’ demand for the leaf was pegged at 171.1 million kg, down from 178.2 million kg in 2014/15.