Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) Trust has emphasised the need for accurate tobacco production estimates, stressing huge variations in actual production and estimates affect prices on the market.
This follows an announcement by the Tobacco Commission (TC) that it will conduct a first round production estimates survey for 2021 marketing season from January 18 to February 5 2021.
In a published statement, the commission indicates that officers from the industry, led by the commission, will be deployed to carry out the exercise in all tobacco growing areas.
“The officers will ask [farmers] questions pertaining to tobacco production. The commission is, therefore, requesting tobacco growers to accord the officers required support by providing the needed information accurately,” the statement reads.
In an interview Tama President Abiel Kalima Banda said they want the figures to be accurate to preserve the farmers.
“We are involved in this process and we work together with the TC and buying companies but it has been a problem when the estimates are high and the actual production is low. Banda said.
This comes against a background of the commission releasing results from the survey that projected a higher production output than the actual production in recent years.
For example, last year, crop estimates released by the commission indicated that farmers were going to produce 154 677 625 kilogrammes of the green gold but at the end of the marketing season it transpired that the country had produced 112 070 689 kilograms of tobacco.
Tobacco remains Malawi’s top export crop and major foreign exchange earner.