50 percent tobacco rejection rate in Mzuzu

Kaisi Sadala

The tobacco market at Mzuzu Auction Floors opened Monday on a low note as the rejection rate stood at 50 percent with highest price at $1.30 on the auction market and $2.30 on the contract market.

There were at least five buyers on the first day which had about 2,000 bales on offer with an expectation that the number of buyers would grow to nine as the market progresses.

Speaking after opening the market, Minister of Agriculture Francis Kasaila said he was not impressed with the prices specifically on the auction market.


“We want to see prices reaching as much as $3. Of course, the prices have been such because of several factors such as farmers clinging to using local varieties of tobacco. They should start using hybrid varieties because those are the ones the buyers want. We have also seen poor grading of tobacco which is affecting prices,” Kasaila said.

Kasaila said he is aware that the Northern Region has received more rains this year which has affected moisture content in tobacco.

Due to the Covid-19, pandemic the government is using a new selling approach called the secret bidding system in which individual farmers are not allowed entry into the auction floors, among others.


Commenting on the new selling system, president of Tama Farmers Trust, formerly Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama), Abel Kalima-Banda, said farmers should not get worried with the new system as no one will be duped.

“Even if the farmers are present at the floors, nothing changes in terms of the prices. The system is alright,” he said and urged farmers to opt for hybrid varieties of tobacco.

On his part, Tobacco Commission Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala, said although there are few teething challenges, secret bidding will increase competition.

On the first day of the market at Limbe Auction Floors, the rejection rate was at 38 percent while at Kanengo Floors, sales were not completed. On the second day, however, the rejection rate was at 68 percent.

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