The Agriculture Research and Extension Trust (Aret) said it has developed new burley and flue cured tobacco varieties that are high yielding and disease resistant.
The new varieties would help growers increase yield while reducing hectares under production and further enhance crop diversification among tobacco farmers.
In an interview, Aret Chief Executive Officer, Albert Changaya, said the trust has come up with FH 4, FH 5 and FH 6 verities for Flue cured tobacco as the new burley varieties are still under development.
“These are high yielding verities. Some of them are slow ripening which means they can give a farmer enough time to cure the tobacco if they do not have enough barn space.
“On burley, we will release three varieties with similar attributes and also resistant to other diseases so whatever we are doing is to get higher yielding varieties than what we currently have to give a farmer better options and better returns,” Changaya said.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic remains a major threat to meeting targets.
Tobacco remains Malawi’s major forex earner.
Last year the country sold 165.6 million killogrammes of all types of tobacco, realising $237 million at an average price of $1.43.