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48, 000 licensed to grow tobacco

Despite low prices and reduced revenue at the just ended 2019 tobacco marketing season, more farmers have shown interest to produce the leaf next production season.

Figures from the Tobacco Commission (TC) show that number of licensed tobacco farmers for the 2019/20 season has grown by 7 percent to 48,000.

This is compared to 45,000 farmers who were registered in the 2018/19 season.

The development is raising fears that quotas given to the farmers may be reduced, thereby reducing earnings.

TC Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala, said there has been congestion during the registration period which was closed last Friday.

“Quota allocation is based on market demand. The Commission has allocated in line with next year’s demand which was announced earlier to be 154 million kg for all types of tobacco,” Sadala said.

Tobacco Association of Malawi Chief Executive Officer, Felix Thole said quatas that farmers are given are in tandem with the demand.

This is coming at a time the industry is facing pressure amid World Health Organization’s anti-smoking campaign which has seen earnings from the industry declining.

This year the country sold 165.6 million kgs of tobacco, realising $237 million at an average price of $1.43.

Tobacco remains the country’s major foreign exchange earner.

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