Tobacco grower registration in slow start

Abiel Kalima Banda

A month after the Tobacco Commission (TC) opened the window for registration for next season, the commission says farmers are yet to flood its offices.

The commission opened the window on June 6 in preparation for the 2022-23 farming season.

TC spokesperson Telephorous Chigwenembe said the commission is yet to see farmers flocking in large numbers, which, according to him, is not surprising as, often, farmers flock for registration close to the deadline.


He added that the commission hopes more growers will register for the coming farming season because tobacco farmers are getting good prices from the sale of the leaf this marketing season as compared to last year.

“We are looking forward to more interest from growers because of the prices that they have gotten this marketing season, especially on the auction market, and we are hoping that this will motivate them to grow further and even those who did not grow,” he said.

The 2021/22 tobacco farming season has been characterised by difficulties due to delayed rains and tropical storms which swept crops in farms and have led to reduced output of the leaf.


The reduced output has, however, been a blessing in disguise as prices of the leaf have been higher as compared to last year.

According to figures from AHL, by week 14, the green gold has raked in $141.5 million at an average price of $2.09 per kilogramme, 28 percent higher than an average price of $1.63 registered during the same period last year.

Tobacco Association of Malawi Farmers Trust President Abiel Kalima Banda said in an interview Thursday that even though the farming season has been characterised with difficulties, the prices being offered will motivate more growers to register.

“The growers are motivated but the only challenge is that farm inputs have gone up but the growers are eager because they know that even though they will buy farm inputs at a higher price, the tobacco will be sold in line with the minimum price which will come from the cost of production; therefore, it will bring good returns,” he said.

Tobacco remains Malawi’s top export and foreign exchange earner seconded by sugar and then tea.

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