Tobacco revenue 35 percent down

Tobacco revenue has gone down by 35 percent six weeks into the 2019 Tobacco Marketing Season, figures released by Tobacco Commission (TC) showed on Friday.

The figures showed that Malawi realised $51.464 million (about K38 billion) compared to $78.948 million (about K58 billion) during same period last year representing 35 percent revenue decline.

TC figures indicate that so far, 37.174 million kilogrammes (kg) of tobacco have been sold compared to 49.740 million kg sold last year, representing 25 percent decline in volumes.

Comparable prices show that this year, the average price is at $1.38 (about K1 021) than $1.59 (about K1 176) the leaf fetched the same period last year, representing a 13 percent slump in prices.

In an earlier interview, Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) chief executive officer Felix Thole said the low volumes and revenue from tobacco should not be a cause for worry because so far, the crop estimate has surpassed last year’s estimates.

He said: “The low revenue from low volumes sold compared to last year should not cause alarm because we still have the volumes to be sold.

“The market uptake has not been the same compared to how the market started last year. So, as growers we remain positive that we will still realiSed more revenue based on the projected volumes.”

Last week, Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) expressed concern that the poor show of tobacco in terms of revenue may affect the economy by way of imported inflation when the Kwacha is depressed due to low forex being generated.

A final crop assessment conducted from February 24 to March 8 established that this year’s tobacco output is at 205.46 million kg against a buyers’ demand of 152 million kg.

Tobacco contributes about 13 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

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