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Tobacco earnings hit $18 million

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Malawi has so far realised a total of $17,979,267 from tobacco sales in the first two weeks of trading, figures from the AHL Group have shown.

The development represents a 214 percent jump in earnings compaired to last year’s first two weeks of sales.

According to AHL Group, as of Friday April 20, a total of 12,620,569 kgs of tobacco were sold at an average price of $1.42 per kg.

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AHL Group Corporate Affairs Manager, Mark Ndipita, said the country has earned 198 percent more than what it earned during the first two weeks of sales last year.

“If we compare to last year, after two weeks of selling tobacco in the 2017 marketing season, the country that time sold 3,751,609 kgs and the total proceeds were $6,056,929.

“At that time the average price was $1.61 per kg. This indicates that in terms of volume sold and money realised from two weeks of tobacco sales, this year the market is performing better,” Ndipita said.

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However some farmers complained that there are cases where prices are being revised downwards for no good reason.

“This is not a good start to the season. These prices are detrimental to us farmers when we consider the inputs, and the value of our money today. We want the government to engage us farmers so we can tell them our grievances,”Jailos Wiskoti, a farmer said.

“They should abolish this contract farming because the companies are at liberty to exploit us knowing that they already have tobacco from the contracts with farmers. But even the farmers on contract are not happy with the prices,” Wiskoti said.

Tobacco remains the country’s major foreign exchange earner.

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