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Lilongwe floors back to daily trading

Tobacco market

Abiel Kalima Banda

Lilongwe tobacco auction floors are back to daily operations from operating for three days a week.

Initially, the market was operating three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday due to reduced volumes of tobacco to the floor, averaging 3,000 bales a day.

A statement from Tobacco Commission (TC) says volumes have now improved, averaging 9,000 bales per day, for trading.

“The commission monitoring the inflow of tobacco at Limbe, Chinkhoma, and Mzuzu floors to determine the need to go back to daily trading will continue. Currently, trading days at the other three floors are being scheduled based on volumes,” he said.

By week six since the market opened, 5.6 million kilogrammes of the leaf valued at $11.1 million have been traded at an average price of $1.96.

Tobacco Association of Malawi Farmers Trust President Abiel Kalima Banda said it is not surprising that the tobacco flow to the market has improved because farmers are done preparing their leaf, among other reasons.

“The other reason the leaf is improving on the market is that prices have improved; of course, not as the farmer expected but at least prices are at a point where farmers can comfortably send their leaf to the market,” Banda said.

Tobacco remains Malawi’s main export and foreign exchange earner and hopes are high that the market will lift Malawi out of foreign exchange challenges.

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