Earnings from the country’s major export crop, tobacco, reached $176.8 million (about K141.4 billion) at the end of 14 weeks of sales, surpassing last year’s total earnings recorded at $173.5 million.
This represents a 2 percent increase.
However, the earnings are still low when compared to the $237 million realised in 2019.
This year’s earnings have been realised after selling 108 million kilogrammes (kg) of tobacco at an average price of $1.64 while total sells last year recorded the sale of 113 million kg at an average price of $1.54.
In an interview, Tobacco Commission Chief Executive Officer Joseph Chidanti Malunga attributed the revenue growth to quality tobacco that the country produced this year.
“We have quality tobacco this year and therefore it has attracted better prices, hence being able to surpass earnings from last year. We will start closing markets this week. We semi closed Limbe market last week but we might open on Wednesday and Thursday to take care of some stocks remaining in the Southern Region and we will close Chinkhoma on July 30,” Malunga said.
He added that Mzuzu and Lilongwe auction floors would remain open in the meantime to take care of any remaining stocks in the central and northern regions.
In a separate interview, Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) Trust President Abiel Kalima Banda said the country might have benefitted but individual farmers have not.
“Our farmers are not happy with both the prices offered, though better than last year, and the high rejection rate on the auction market. This will affect production next season because a lot of farmers are frustrated and some will surely exit the industry,” Kalima Banda said.