New tobacco buyer to enter Malawi market
A new Chinese tobacco buying company is expected to enter the Malawi market ‘soon’, Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawala has said.
If it comes, the firm would be the 11th on the market after another, Protrade, started buying the green gold last year.
In 2018, Malawi signed a deal with Chinese state-controlled firm, Tobacco Monopoly, to enter the local market.
Speaking in Mzuzu Wednesday during official opening of the the Mzuzu selling floors. Kawale said discussions are at an advanced stage with the Chinese firm.
“The Chinese government is willing not just to resume, but to buy more volumes this year.
“So you will be able to see movements happening on the auction floors in few days that we can export tobacco to China,” he said.
On the opening of the market Kawale said sales started on a higher note.
On auction market, the highest quality leaf was fetching an average of $2.83, a rise from $2.10 last year. On the contract market, the leaf fetched $2.85 compared to $2.50 it fetched during same time last year.
Trading at Mzuzu floors was initially scheduled to start on May 2, but the opening was delayed to allow the facility receive more tobacco bales.
A total of 3,123 bales were sold Wednesday, an increase from 1,598 bales which were sold on the official opening day last year.
Tobacco Association of Malawi Farmers Trust President Abel Kalima Banda pleaded with the buyers to offer more than minimum prices.
“We are satisfied with the prices being offered, more especially in Mzuzu, compared to last year’s prices. But we only urge the buyers to continue and be consistent,” he said.
This season, international market demand is pegged at 170 million kg, compared to the 126 million kg the country is projected to have produced.
Meanwhile, TC says it projects a rise in tobacco output to 200 million kg by 2028.
This far about 24 million kg of tobacco have already been sold since the opening of the market on April 12, 2023.