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Tobacco Commission downbeat on tobacco revenue

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DETERMINED—Malunga

Tobacco Commission (TC) has expressed doubt over the possibility of the country realising $197.1 million (about K160 billion) from the sale of tobacco this year as it did last year.

This came out during a press briefing representatives of the commission held in Blantyre over the weekend.

TC Chief Executive Officer Joseph Chidanti Malunga said it would be difficult to earn as much as last year’s revenue from the green gold because the disparity is very wide between the demand and supply, seen at 61 million kilogrammes (kg).

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However, Malunga was quick to indicate that the earnings could be fair owing to good prices being offered on the market, which are higher than last year.

“If you look at the volumes that we anticipate, the answer is no. We are expecting around 100 million kilogrammes but if you look at the price you might say its comparable and we might get close to last year’s [figure] because the average price is around $2 per kg and last year the average price was $1.52 per kg.

“So, we might see a great improvement but I would not say the earnings will be more than last year because the volumes do not speak to that,” Malunga said.

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He further said the commission plans to open the tobacco registration exercise sooner this year to incorporate as many farmers as possible to boost production next season.

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