Fingers crossed on leaf market closure
The Tobacco Commission (TC) has said it will keep Lilongwe and Mzuzu auction floors open indefinitely as it keeps tabs on tobacco volumes still reaching the markets.
In an interview, TC Chief Executive Officer Joseph Chidanti Malunga said Limbe and Chinkhoma markets were closed already.
“We will not put a date on as to when we are closing all the markets but we will make the announcement when the time comes.
“We have noted that some farmers still have tobacco volumes and others prefer to sell towards the very end of the season, so we will determine closure of markets when we see the volumes declining,” Malunga said.
Initially, the commission had set August 10 as closing date for the 2021 tobacco selling season.
Latest figures from AHL tobacco sales show that at the end of week 15 of sales, the country had realised $183.7 million after selling 112.7 million kilograms (kg) of tobacco at an average price of $1.63 per kg.
The earnings represent a 20.8 percent increase when compared to the $152 million realised during the same period last year, after the sale of 99.9 million kg of tobacco at an average price of $1.52 per kg.
Further the earnings are 5.8 percent higher when compared to $173.5 million realised after total sales of 113 million kg of tobacco at an average price of $1.54.
However, tobacco farmers have lamented poor prices and a high rejection rate recorded on auction market this year.
In a recent interview, President of Tobacco Association of Malawi Trust Abiel Kalima Banda said the trends this year will force some farmers to exit the market, which will affect production of the crop next year.