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Dry spell to affect tobacco output

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The Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) is worried that the dry spell that has hit some parts of the country will affect the leaf ’s output, making it difficult for the country to meet demand on the international market.

Buyers have expressed an interest in buying 171 kilogrammes of the green gold this year.

Tama President, Abel Kalima-Banda, said the first estimates for tobacco production showed that the country will produce less than the demand.

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Kalima-Banda was speaking during the launch of the 2018 Tama Annual Area Meeting, which was held in Rumphi district recently.

“We cannot give actual figures now as the estimates are still ongoing but know by now that farmers will not be able to meet the demand,” he said.

Looking back, Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) Chief Executive Officer, Kayisi Sadala, said the tobacco market faced similar challenges in the last growing season although the outcome was better as compared to previous seasons.

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“We under-produced by 45 percent because, according to the demand by the buyers, we were supposed to supply 151 million kilogrammes but we only produced 106 million kilogrammes of tobacco” Sadala said.

But Sadala was optimistic that the situation will improve.

“The assessment was conducted at a time the nation was experiencing a dry spell but we expect the situation to improve,” he said.

However, one of the tobacco farmers from Bolero, Isaac Msiska, said this year’s tobacco market looks promising for the farmers in the Northern Region.

“We are thinking that this year’s market will be successful because, as you have heard, the country has failed to meet the demand on the market due to the dry spell experienced in the Central and Southern regions. This means the supply is low and the demand will be high,” Msiska said.

The meeting brought together tobacco farmers, buyers and officials from different banks.

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