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Buyers demand less tobacco next season

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Tobacco buyers in the country have pledged to buy 151.1 million kilogrammes of the leaf in the forthcoming 2016/2017 growing season, a drop of 7.1 million kilogrammes that were demanded during the last growing season.

Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has confirmed receiving the pledges.

TCC Executive Director, Alfred Changaya, said in an interview on Monday that among the three types of tobacco that the country grows, the drop has affected burley which is now 123.6 million kilogrammes from 132 million kilogrammes.

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“The total pledge of volume for tobacco that we have received so far for the next season shows a drop from last year. Burley is now at 123 million kgs, dark-fired tobacco 4.5 million kgs while Flu-cured will be 23.6 million kgs,” he said.

Changaya said the Commission has changed its form of allocating volumes of tobacco to farmers in the next season in order to address issues of overproduction which affected tobacco market this year.

He said this year, farmers will only be allocated based on hectares of their fields.

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“Previously, during registration, farmers were just dictating the volume of tobacco that they would buy but what is happening now is that the farmer has to give us the hectares of his or her field and then, we factor in a formula that dictates the amount of tobacco he has to grow,” he explained

Changaya expressed optimism that the volumes might change in the near future for the better.

Commenting on the matter, Tobacco Association of Malawi’s (Tama) Head of Marketing and Business Development, Felix Thole, said if farmers are able to produce according to what buyers are looking for, they will get premium prices in the 2016/2017 season.

Tobacco is the country’s chief forex earner but this year, the crop has not brought in the expected results into the national coffers.

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