Tobacco Commission (TC) has assured tobacco growers of better prices this year if they produce quality crop.
TC chief executive officer Kayisi Sadala said this in Mzimba on Friday after inspecting the crop in the Northern Region.
He said this year’s tobacco looks promising and buyers should expect quality leaf.
Said Sadala: “The growers’ main concerns are about pricing as you know tobacco is labour and capital intensive; hence, they expect good rewards.
“I was assuring them that we believe the prices will be quite good this year and they should take proper care of the crop by properly grading and conditioning it.”
However, he said some of the crop has been affected by leaching following higher than normal rainfall, mostly in the northern part of Mzimba while the other crop has been affected by the fall armyworms and bud eaters.
During the inspection, Sadala said Kabwafu Satellite Market in Mzimba will not open this year because it does not meet the minimum daily requirement of 5 000 bales, as provided in the Tobacco Industry Act 2019.
In an interview, one of the growers, Henry Nkhomba said he is confident the leaf will fetch better prices than last year.
Another grower, Agrippa Moyo, said last year’s prices were discouraging to them.
This year, tobacco buying companies plan to buy 161.4 million kilogrammes (kg), which is higher than 149.6 million kg demanded in 2019.
However, growers produced 205 million kg of tobacco, representing an over-production of 35 percent.
Tobacco is touted as the country’s main export crop.