Tobacco growers upbeat over 2023 minimum price

Abiel Kalima Banda

Tobacco growers in the country have indicated that they expect minimum tobacco prices in the 2023 marketing season to be higher than last year and in line with the current cost of production.

Last year the government through the Ministry of Agriculture set the minimum price for tobacco at $0.90.

Reports indicate that the cost of producing tobacco this season increased on the back soaring prices of farm inputs such as fertilizers, chemicals and seed.


Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) Trust President Abiel Kalima Banda said they expect the minimum price to fully factor in the cost of production to cushion farmers from making loses.

He added that most farm inputs were scarce and expensive but farmers went on to cultivate the green gold.

“This year we have received good rains and farmers have still tried to purchase the inputs therefore we expect a good leaf that is why we are urging government to put a minimum price that befits the cost of production and the quality of the leaf. This should also rejuvenate the economy as tobacco remains the top foreign exchange earner, currently in short supply,” Banda said.


Tobacco Commission (TC) Public Relations Officer Telephorous Chigwenembe said the commission understands that cultivating the leaf this year has not been an easy task.

He indicated that last week, they finished consultations on the cost of production with farmers and they will soon recommend the minimum price of the leaf to the government.

“It can be premature to say how much exactly people should expect but farmers should be assured that we will factor in the cost of production and page the price above it so that farmers make profits,” Chigwenembe said.

Last month, TC said it had registered tobacco growers who are expected to grow 170 million kg of the green gold this year.

Its Chief Executive Officer Joseph Chidanti Malunga said the expected tobacco output is 10 million kg more than the 160 million kg which growers were registered to produce last year.

Chidanti Malunga could, however, not indicate the amount demanded by international buyers, describing it as a competition issue which is not supposed to be disclosed.

Controller of Agriculture Technical and Extension Services Alfred Mwenifumbo has urged stakeholders to consider having mega farms in agriculture as one way of boosting output and quality.

Tobacco remains Malawi’s top foreign exchange earner. However, over the years, earnings from the crop have significantly dropped due to, among other things, harsh weather conditions and the global anti-smoking campaign.

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