The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has said mixing of grades and over classification of tobacco has led to increased rejection rates of bales by buyers at the country’s tobacco auction floors.
Tobacco control Commission Chief Executive Officer Bruce Munthali on Tuesday said the rejection rate is particularly high at the Mzuzu Auction Floors and is mainly prevalent in the auction of burley.
“The rejection is affecting progress in trading at the auction floors,” said Munthali.
He said while rejection has averaged 15 to 26 percent at Lilongwe, Limbe and Chinkhoma markets, the same has been registered at between 20 and 59 percent in Mzuzu.
Munthali, however, said inflow of tobacco has picked up at all the markets.
“There is now more tobacco coming to the floors. The only set back we had is that of offloading. However, that has been addressed and transporters can now book based on the type of sale, thus either auction or contract markets,” he said.
On the farmer’s outcry on pricing, Munthali said the prices so far are within and above the set minimum prices.
He said Malawi prices are also being influenced by global over supply of tobacco.
“We are still experiencing the same problem of global over supply of flue cured tobacco and this is also worrying us as a regulatory body,” he said.
He also hinted that the country’s second tobacco assessment may see estimates go down.
As of Thursday last week, earnings from tobacco had increased by 14 percent as compared to the same time last year. The country has so far earned US$21 million against US$20million earned same time last year.