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Tobacco flow pick up as Mzuzu, Kasungu floors open

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Tobacco volumes to Lilongwe Auction Floors have improved by more than 100 percent from 3,000 bales per trading day on the day it was opened to 6,479 as at last Friday.

This is according to a statement from tobacco industry regulator, Tobacco Commission (TC).

According to the statement, in the four weeks of opening the marketing season, low volumes were expected as the selling was started earlier than in previous years and a lot of growers were still preparing their leaf.

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The statement adds that the highest valued leaf on the auction, as of Friday last week, fetched $2.40 per kilogramme (kg) while the least valued leaf went at $1.30 per kg, which was Burley.

“In the first few weeks of trading, it is mostly the lower leaf, which is low quality, being brought to the floor. It is expected that prices will get better as tobacco of better quality is yet to be brought to the floors,” the statement reads.

The tobacco market for this year was officially opened by President Lazarus Chakwera on March 31, starting with the Lilongwe floors followed by Limbe Auction Floors which opened last week.

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Meanwhile, the commission has announced that the Chikhoma Auction Floors in Kasungu District and Mzuzu Auction Floors will open on Wednesday this week and on May 9, respectively.

Tobacco deliveries at the two floors started Monday.

The 2022 tobacco selling season started on a low note evidenced by low inflow of the leaf to auction floors as most tobacco was not thoroughly dry.

Farmers have also been lamenting low prices the leaf has been fetching, claiming that most buyers were only offering the minimum set price.

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