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Tobacco interface begins this week

Tobacco growers’ body, the Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) has this week started interface meetings with tobacco farmers.

The meetings will, among other things, focus on the outlook for tobacco in the current tobacco marketing season.

The meetings are expected to be held countrywide and will give farmers a chance to deliberate on the crop situation following a dry spell that hit some parts of the country.

This comes at a time Malawi’s tobacco production for the year is estimated at about 149 million kilogrammes (kg) representing almost 12.8 percent less of the demand on the international market.

For the 2018 marketing season, buyers need 171 million kg of all kinds of tobacco.

Over 41,000 farmers had registered to grow the leaf as of early December, with a total registered quota of 162 million kg.

Tama Chief Executive Officer, Matthews Zulu, said the meetings give a chance to stakeholders in the tobacco value chain to reflect on experience of the last growing season and make improvements for the next season.

“We are engaging the farmers and all stakeholders involved to ensure an effective market this year. Our initiative is to see growers making the most of their investment and effort,” Zulu said.

He said, among other things, specialists will also train tobacco farmers on maintaining quality leaf after harvest to ensure improved earnings.

Revenue from the green gold slumped last year by 23 percent to $212 million, from $275 million in 2016.

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