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Tobacco earnings hit $123 million

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Malawi has so far realised a total of $123 million from tobacco sales which started on April 9.

According to statistics from regulatory body, Tobacco Control Commission (TCC), as at the end of eight weeks of trading, the country has sold 75 million kilogrammes (kg) of tobacco, at an average price of $1.59 per kg. During the same time last year, the country sold 46 million kg at an average price of $1.87 per kg.

The statistics further show that, as at June 1, 2018, flue cured tobacco has earned the country $18 million, compared to $26 million realised during the same period last year.

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The average price for flue under contract is at $2.52 per kg while last year it was at $2.75 per kg. On the other hand, prices on the auction market for flue averaged $1.46 per kg against last year’s $2.85 per kg.

TCC further says Malawi has realised $104 million from sales of burley tobacco against last year’s $56 million.

The average price for burley is $1.55 per kg while last year it was $1.64 per kg.

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Auction burley is averaging $1.32 per kg against last year’s $1.41 per kg while the contract market is buying the same burley at an average price of $1.59 per kg, which is slightly lower that last year’s $1.69 per kg.

In an interview last week, TCC Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala, described the current tobacco marketing season as encouraging, as prices are improving compared to the situation last season.

“There is a lot of sanity. The buyers are doing their best to buy within the minimum prices that were agreed with the government.

“At the same time, the commission continues to urge farmers to make sure that they prepare their crop very well and grade it properly so that we do not get excuses for lower prices,” Sadala said.

He said tobacco rejection rate is hovering at between 10 and 15 percent in all markets country wide.

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