Tobacco earns $199 million
Over 99 million of the 124 million kilogrammes of tobacco grown this year have been traded at the auction floors since the opening of the 2017 selling season in April.
The tobacco market, now in its sixteenth week, has so far realised about $198.9 million.
Figures from AHL Group show that cumulatively, the leaf was sold at an average price of $1.99 per kilogramme by close of last week.
This year’s tobacco marketing season is expected to close at the end of July or early August according to the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC).
Comparatively, the season has been smooth with no disruptions unlike last year where the market was characterised by high rejection rates coupled with low prices on offer which led to continued disruptions.
Commentators feel the improved trend is due to a 35 percent drop in tobacco production this year to 124 million kilogrammes.
Growers’ representative body, Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) expressed satisfaction with the trends but called for continued control of production levels in the coming season if this is to be sustained.
In a telephone interview, Tama Chief Executive Officer, Matthews Zulu, said growers have realised better returns from the crop this year compared to last year.
“We are very comfortable with the trend this far. Much as volumes were lower, we have seen improvements in both the quality of the leaf brought for trading as well as prices the leaf is fetching,” Zulu said.
Tobacco is still Malawi’s major foreign exchange earner despite challenges facing global tobacco marketing.