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Tobacco Commission hopes for 10% rise in production

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BANDA—Demand should be communicated in good time

Authorities at the Tobacco Commission (TC) have expressed hope that tobacco production is going to bounce back in the 2021-22 season with an additional 12 million kilogrammes(kg), all factors being constant.

In an interview, TC Chief Executive Officer Joseph Chidanti Malunga said the commission has been engaging tobacco buyers with emphasis on progress made on sanitising the industry on issues of human rights promotion and governance in the production value chain.

He said the response has so far been positive, hence keeping the farmer registration exercise open to meet demand.

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“We expect to continue the increased production trajectory. In 2020, we produced 114 million kilogrammes of tobacco while this year we sold a total of 123 million kg so we expect the trend to continue. When you comply with what the buyers want, then it gives them confidence and they end up increasing the quantity of tobacco they would buy from Malawi.

“Meanwhile we have been engaging the buyers and the response has been quite good and we anticipate the demand to grow by 10 percent or less but the demand will be higher than last year,” Malunga said.

President of the Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) Trust Abiel Kalima Banda said issues of demand should be communicated to farmers in good time for them to prepare to meet demand.

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“We should be discussing demand between June and July when farmers are preparing for the season but if we discuss demand in November, even if the demand reaches 250 million kg, we won’t be able to meet that because time is long gone and now we are moving the tobacco from the nursery.

“…but if the demand is that high, then we expect that the buyers will get all the tobacco produced in Malawi and we will not have cases of farmers exporting the crop illegally to neighbouring countries,” Banda said.

This year, the country realised $196.7 million from the sale of 123 million kg of tobacco.

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