AHL Group, handlers of tobacco at the country’s auction floors, on Wednesday launched its field day meeting with tobacco farmers with the aim of updating them on market developments and advantages of selling tobacco through the auction market.
The launch was held at Nambuma in Lilongwe where AHL also awarded Kanthunkako Burley Club as the best burley tobacco club in the central region.
The club was awarded with a trophy and K500,000 for toping the other central region clubs.
Speaking at the launch, Farmers Union of Malawi (Fum) president Kapochira Banda urged the farmers to maintain the auction market.
Banda said farmers should not abandon the auction market which has been there for over 80 years.
“It is important that farmers keep supporting the auction marketing in order to have competition on the market. Contract marketing lacks competition as it only involves two parties,” he said.
AHL general manager tobacco sales, Moses Yakobe said the field sensitisation campaigns are meant at helping farmers prepare well for the coming season.
“This programme will be held in all the three regions. We will be interacting with farmers who are our customers and get feedback from them while giving them updates on any new developments,” said Yakobe.
He said AHL is upgrading its system by improving on payments to the farmers.
“Once the system upgrade is finalised, farmers will be paid within two hours from the current 14 hours,” he said.
The two tobacco marketing systems are currently running concurrently as government is yet to settle on one although the contract farming is more favoured with up to 80 percent allocation of total volumes.