Two new tobacco firms, African Tobacco Services (ATS) and Vision International Tobacco (VIT) Company, have started buying the country’s ‘green gold’ under auction system at the Lilongwe Auction Floors.
ATS, a South Africa-based company, which started buying the leaf on April 8 and VIT, a Chinese firm, on June 9, have since praised growers for presenting quality leaf.
Auction Holdings Limited (AHL) corporate affairs manager Mark Ndipita said the development will increase competition on the floors, which could push up prices.
“The companies have increased the number of tobacco buyers from six to eight, which is a positive development and good news to tobacco growers selling their leaf on auction system,” he said.
ATS leaf manager Sydney Kintu said they opted for auction system because it did not register with growers on integrated production system (IPS) as the firm is new on the market.
He was not sure if the company will buy the leaf on IPS next year, but said it will have spread to other floors by then.
On his part, VIT executive director Patrick Chen said the country has quality flue-cured tobacco which most Chinese prefer.
He said they are currently sourcing orders from potential buyers, which if successful will make the firm buy the leaf on both auction and contract next year.
While Chen said VIT is buying both burley and flue-cured tobacco, ATS is only buying the former.
Other companies that are already buying tobacco on the country’s auction floors include JTI Leaf (Malawi) Limited, Malawi Leaf Limited, Premium Tobacco Company Limited, Associated Tobacco Company Limited, Limbe Leaf Tobacco Company Limited and Alliance One Tobacco (Malawi) Limited.