Tobacco buyers demand 160 000 tonnes in 2018

Tobacco buyers have said they are ready to buy 160 000 tonnes of the leaf in the coming season 8 000 tonnes more than what the country produced last season.

During the last tobacco season, Malawi farmers produced 152 000 tonnes from 195 000 tonnes produced in the previous season, representing a 43 000-tonne drop.

Tobacco sales in progress at the floors

A statement from the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC), the country’s green gold regulator, indicates that out of what buyers are demanding, 130 000 tonnes is burley, 25 000 tonnes flue cured tobacco and 5 000 tonnes is dark fired cured tobacco.

TCC acting chief executive officer David Luka has said this is an indicator of another successful season if tobacco farmers cooperate and adhere to tobacco regulations.

“The problem is that when we have good indicators like this one, farmers become too excited and overproduce. That results into poor market, going by principles of demand and supply,” said Luka.

He was speaking on the sidelines of an interface meeting with tobacco farmers in Mchinji where the commission was updating farmers on the current trends in the tobacco industry.

Luka told the farmers that the commission is currently registering and issuing tobacco quota’s and that this year, there will be no extension of the registration period.

“We started registering and issuing quotas for 2017/18 season in June and the closing date is September 30, 2017. After that, there will be no chance [for new registrations],” said Luka.

He reminded farmers that the commission allocates production quotas in line with trade requirement and urged growers that intend to enter into contract farming to agree with their buyers on the quota to be registered by TCC.

Luka warned that clubs will not be allowed to use their quota for selling tobacco which does not belong to their members.

In the just ended season, Malawi sold a total of 106 000 tonnes of tobacco which raked in a total of US$212 million (approximately K155.6 billion).

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