Tobacco growers from the Northern Region are all smiles due to good prices the leaf is fetching at Mzuzu Auction Floors in the 13th week of sales as compared to the early weeks.
In random interviews at the Mzuzu Auction Floors most farmers are satisfied with the prices being offered.
Shanks Nyasulu, a tobacco grower from Enukweni in Mzimba said his burley leaf was fetching $1.60 (k657) per
kilogramme (kg) in the early weeks of the sales, but the price has gone up to $2.20 (K904) per kg as of this week.
Another grower, Wongani Chamwazi, from Chilulu in Rumphi said he sold five bales at $2.45 (k1 006) per kg which he said is a good price as compared to 90 cents per kg which the leaf fetched some few weeks ago.
Simeon Sikwese also from Rumphi said he is contented with the prices such that he has made more profits.
“I do not see myself switching from tobacco farming come what may,” he said.
Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) chief executive officer Bruce Munthali said Mzuzu market is fetching good prices because of the quality leaf being brought to the floors.
He said Northern Region has an advantage because the grower base is not as big as Central Region; hence, no congestion.
“So far the Mzuzu market is running smoothly and satisfactory,” he said.
The highest price for burley at the market has been $2.60 (k1 068) per kg and $4.15 (K1 705)per kg for flue cured tobacco.
According to Munthali, the country has thus far sold about 101 million kg which is an 11 percent increase in volume but raked in $174 million (K71 billion), a three percent drop in earnings compared to the same periold in 2013.
He attributed the drop in earnings to softness of flue cured tobacco prices.
“Market trends for flue cured tobacco have gone down globally,” said Munthali.