By William Kumwembe in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tobacco Commission (TC) has said it has courted potential buyers of Malawi tobacco from Indonesia, Morocco and Egypt at the on-going 2020 Dubai Expo.
TC Board Chairperson Harry Mkandawire said in an interview that while there is no indication yet on the volume required, once the deals are struck, the country would see a surge in demand for the green gold.
It comes at a time both tobacco output and revenue has been on a downward spiral in recent years due to weather-related shocks and the anti-smoking lobby by the World Health Organisation.
However, international market demand has, for some years now, been static.
According to Mkandawire, the commission and stakeholders were working tirelessly to maintain the charm of the green gold and attract more buyers to the local market.
“Malawi’s tobacco, especially Burley, is the only rare leaf used for blending with others in every cigarette. Counties like Indonesia, Morocco and Egypt are interested in our tobacco. We are likely to increase our volume,” he said.
Mkandawire said the commission would expedite the talks to see some of the prospective buyers entering the market at least this season.
“We are working around the clock in ensuring that we yield something tangible out of the prospective deals,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mkandawire has said one of the global tobacco buyers, Phillip Morris, has increased its demand for local tobacco “which has seen local buyers contracting more farmers this season”.
He said this is likely to push up tobacco prices this season.
Last season, Malawi produced 123 million kilogrammes (kg) of all types of tobacco against an international market demand of 154 million kg.