Malawiâ€™s tobaccoâ€™s cumulative earnings up to week 13 this selling season stand at $120 million (K30 billion), a 142 percent jump from last yearâ€™s $49.5 million (K12 billion), according to the leafâ€™s sales statistics.
The revenue realised is from 56.3 million kilogrammes (kgs) of the leaf sold at an average price of $2.13 (K532 at the current exchange rate) per kg.
Comparatively, 51 million kgs of the leaf were sold during the same period last year at 97 cents (K242) per kg, sales statistics from Auction Holdings Limited (AHL) for the week ending June 22 2012 have shown.
This means that about 95 million kgs of the leaf are yet to go through the auction out of 151 million kgs of the leaf produced this year, according to the second round crop estimates.
The increased earnings are boosting the countryâ€™s foreign currency buffer particularly for the private sector. This follows a May 7 2012 directive from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) to route all proceeds from tobacco, which wires in 60 percent of the countryâ€™s foreign currency, to commercial banks.
Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) public relations officer Juliana Chidumu has attributed the higher prices and revenue this year to competition.
“There is also better quality leaf this year as compared to last year,” she said.
In its commentary, the tobacco auctioneer said the cumulative average for all types of tobacco stand at $2.13 (K532) per kgs up from $1.00 per (K250) kgs during the same period last year.
“Rejection rate remained positively static at one percent,” said AHL in the commentary.
According to the statistics, burley grown by a majority of smallholder farmers, has raked in $94 million (K23 billion) out of 47.6 million kgs of the leaf sold at an average price of $1.98 (K495) per kgs.
Flue cured, grown by large estates, has brought in $22 million (K5.5 billion) from 1.6 million kgs of the leaf sold at an average price of $2.07 (K517) per kgs.
But Chidumu could not indicate how much Malawi is expected to realise from the leaf saying that is difficult because of the volatility in prices and volume.
Tobacco earnings have for the past years been dropping. Last year, the earnings dropped to $292 million (K73 billion) from $410 million (K102 billion), the year before.