The Tobacco Commission (TC) has further extended grower registration and licencing period to November 30.
This comes after the period was earlier extended to October 29 from end of September.
The exercise, which points to determination of volume of tobacco to be legally grown in a given season, started on June 28.
TC spokesperson Telephorous Chigwenembe the extension is meant to create an opportunity for more farmers to grow tobacco lawfully by getting registered and licenced.
He said the extension was necessary as farmers and perspective growers continue going to TC offices for registration and licencing.
“We are happy with what is happening so far. For us, it is an indication that farmers are aware they have to be licenced for them to grow tobacco as doing so without this is illegal in Malawi,” he said.
He was, however, non-committal to disclose how many growers have been registered and licenced so far.
Tobacco Association of Malawi Trust President Abiel Kalima Banda, however, maintained that the extension is unnecessary because those who are ready to cultivate tobacco this year have already done processes such as purchasing inputs and starting nursery beds.
“Growing tobacco needs seedlings which need to be sourced in September and not in October; so, those who want to cultivate tobacco this year have already bought the seed and have already registered,” he said.
Tobacco remains Malawi’s top export earner and raked in close to $200 million last season.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.