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Northern Region tobacco farmers bemoan prices

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By Feston Malekezo:

Tobacco famers continue to grapple with poor prices on the market.

During the opening of Kabwafu Mini Auction Floors on Tuesday for example, the market had to be suspended for about 30 minutes after only 355 out of 1,212 bales that were on sale had been sold.

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One of the farmers, Deus Nyondo, while expressing optimism that prices would pick up, said farmers were not satisfied.

“Honestly speaking we have produced quality leaf this year but buyers will always complain.

“We are only hoping that prices would pick up. Most of us are contract farmers and, as such, if we do not make profits, we may end up using the money we get for repaying loans,” he said.

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Auction Holdings Limited Mzuzu Floors Manager, Happy Chifungwe, said there were no striking differences between this year’s prices and those offered last year.

The highest price flue cured tobacco fetched was $4.15 and the minimum got $0.50.

Meanwhile, Richard Chinthunzi, Regional Manager for the Tobacco Commission, has commended farmers for bringing quality leaf to the market.

“Looking at the quality of the leaf, we are impressed but I cannot say much on the price because the government set minimum prices and buyers are complying with that,” he said.

At least 205 million kilogrammes of tobacco are expected to be sold this season in the country.

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