Limbe Auction Floors opened on Monday on high note recording highest price of $2.50 per kilogramme (kgs) price on the contract side and $1.30 on auction market.
The minimum price recorded on the market was $0.90.
The prices are higher than $2.30 and $1.20 on contract and auction respectively, recorded at the Lilongwe floors on opening day and higher than $2.40 price recorded on contract market on first day of trading Chinkhoma market.
Start of the Limbe market excited both the government and farmers.
Speaking after opening the market, Minister of Agriculture, Francis Kasaila, said he was pleased with quality of the leaf brought to the market.
“This shows that farmers are taking heed of the messages we send on proper handling and grading of the crop and I am happy that the buyers are adhering to the minimum price of $0.90, I am hoping that majority of the farmers will get prices above the $0.90,” Kasaila said.
In a separate interview, Tobacco Commission Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala, said prices could have been better on the auction market if it were not for reduced number of buyers on the opening day.
“Some of the buyers were not happy on how the tobacco was classified but what is important is that at the end of the day, all the tobacco will be bought,” Sadala said.
One of the farmer organisations Nasfam was impressed with how the market started.
Nasfam Chief Executive Officer, Betty Chinyamunyamu, said earnings from the leaf might be equal to last year’s.
“We have started on a very good note on all the three floors and that is a good indication that the season should go on normally,” Chinyamunyamu said.
Last year the country sold 165.6 million kgs of tobacco, realising $237 million at an average price of $1.43.