Malawiâ€™s Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has said it is concerned with the low levels of inflows of the leaf at both Lilongwe and Limbe auction floors.
TCC chief executive officer Dr Bruce Munthali attributed this to transport challenges.
“That aside, some farmers may still be grading their leaf and want to bring it mid-day through the sales season.
“So far, the market progressed very well on Thursday, but the challenge is that the shelves are still low,” said Munthali in an interview yesterday.
He said by nine oâ€™clock, the sales had finished at Limbe, a signal that the stocks were indeed low.
This could also be a reflection of low output this year, which has plummeted by 36 percent to 151 million kilogrammes from last yearâ€™s 237 million kilogrammes.
Munthali noted that prices are still above the set minimum with the highest price at Limbe peaking at $2.25 per kg and lowest at 85 cents per kilogramme.
“The prices are quite reasonable, but we still want the buyers to pay more. So far, the sales are on course,” he said.
Munthali added that the rejection rate at 26 percent is still closer to normal stressing, however, that the acceptable limit is between 14 percent and 20 percent.
“We want it [the rejection rate] to go closer to zero,” he added.
On Wednesday in Limbe, sales opened on a good note with the highest price hitting $2.35 per kg.
Tobacco is Malawiâ€™s number one foreign currency earner wiring in 60 percent of earnings and contributing 13 percent to the national economy.