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Final tobacco crop estimates this month

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The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) is later this month expected to commence the third and final round of tobacco crop assessment and results would be ready by end- June.

TCC said it would conduct the assessment in conjunction with other key stakeholders in the tobacco sector.

The results would determine date for closure of the 2018 tobacco marketing season, which has entered week 10.

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Results for the sound round crop assessment released at the beginning of March show that Malawi’s tobacco production is estimated at about 149 million kilogrammes (kg) this year, almost 12.8 percent less of the international market demand.

For the 2018 marketing season, buyers need 171 million kg of all kinds of tobacco.

Commentators anticipate no significant change in the tobacco production outlook.

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TCC Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala, said the final assessment would help the regulator to determine the closing date for this year’s marketing season.

“The main purpose is to inform us, in terms of how much crop is still out there. This should give us final estimates but also inform us as we project dates for closure of the markets,” Sadala said.

Overproduction has been a major concern in tobacco marketing, contributing to high rejection rates and low prices offered for the leaf.

Last year, the market was marred by a wide range of irregularities including high rejection rates and low prices the leaf fetched which made the season the longest in recent history.

Meanwhile, figures provided by TCC indicate that, after nine weeks of sales this season, 87.1 million kg of all types of tobacco have been sold at an average price of $1.67 with proceeds amounting to $145.4 million.

During the same period last year, 55.7 million kg of all types of tobacco were sold at an average price of $1.90, raking in $104.8 million.

In a recent interview, Tobacco Association of Malawi Chief Executive Officer, Matthews Zulu, said outlook for this selling season remains positive.

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