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Tama still worried with tobacco prices

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The Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) says despite the slight improvement in prices being offered for tobacco, more can still be done to ensure that the earnings from the leaf are meaningful to the economy.

Commenting on progress of the tobacco market after eight weeks of trading, Tama Chief Executive Officer, Graham Kunimba, said the crop is still fetching less as compared to last year. Kunimba said more still needs to be done if tobacco farming is to continue benefitting the country.

“We are happy with the improvement that we are seeing at the moment, but they [buyers] can do better. If we look at comparative figures between last year and this year, we are still far behind. Buyers can do better by offering good prices,” Kunimba said.

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In the past two weeks, there has been a slight improvement in prices being offered for the leaf, after close to five weeks of volatility characterised by record high rejection rates.

At its lowest, the green gold was fetching $0.80 per kilogramme but in the past week, the prices have picked averaging $1.39 per kilogramme.

Kunimba however, said the association expected the prices to be much higher considering the quality of leaf now making its way to the floors.

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“If we realign our production to demand, it simply shows that the market is there. We must be consistent in terms of production levels. It is just a question of balancing the supply and demand,” said Kunimba.

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