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2018 tobacco demand up 10%

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Tobacco is on high demand, with international buyers asking for 171million kgs in the 2017/18 season, the Tobacco Control Commission has said.

This is a 10 percent increase from the 2016/17 volume.

The development comes against a background of the industry failing to meet the demand in the 2016/17 season by over 40 million kgs after producing 110 million kgs of the green gold against the demand of 158 million kgs.

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TCC acting Chief Executive Officer, David Luka, said this provides an opportunity for the country to realise more from tobacco sales next year.

Luka was, however, quick to note that Malawi still has to tread carefully to benefit from the crop, especially by paying attention to what the market needs.

“We still have to be careful in the tobacco industry because this 10 percent increase in demand could be a result of the undersupply of tobacco the market experienced in the just ended season,” Luka said.

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The TCC boss said global trends show that the market is steady despite a decrease in cigarette consumption which in the long run may have an impact on the Malawi tobacco industry.

Luka reiterated that the tobacco industry still supports the economy significantly by bringing in more foreign exchange than any other crop, hence the need to diversify the industry rather than thinking of exiting it.

“We cannot entirely stop producing tobacco as a nation. What we are saying is we should produce according to global market demands,” Luka said.

He further trashed the World Health Organisation’s stance on tobacco production stressing that they should offer alternative solutions to the crop.

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