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Tobacco market extended

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Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has extended tobacco sales at auction floors with the hope of buying all tobacco bales that farmers are still keeping.

Originally, the market was destined to close on December 2 2016.

The development has pleased a lot of farmers who were worried that their tobacco will not be bought after the closure of the market.

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One of the tobacco growers, Benamu Kanyenje, said TCC should not close the market until every bale is sold.

“We are very happy with the extension of the tobacco market, this means that all our remaining tobacco will be bought at the floors and we will have cash at hand other than closing the market when there is a lot of tobacco yet to be sold which is disastrous for the farmer and the country,” he said.

Kanyenje further said the only hindrance at the auction floors is low tobacco prices.

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“The same leaf we were selling at $2.50, today the same leaf is selling at $1 but it is better to sell than to have the tobacco at home,” he said.

Auction Holdings Limited (AHL) Corporate Manager, Mark Ndipita, said tobacco sales are progressing very well since the extension of closure of the market this season from December 2.

“Rejection rates have drastically improved because of increased merchant’s participation on the buying line. This is a massive improvement on rejection. We are still receiving more tobacco at the auction floors,” he said

At Mzuzu Floors on Monday and Tuesday, direct auction burley sale rejection was 1.4 percent of 1,414 bales laid.

As of Monday December 5, 2016 the country sold 185 million kilogrammes of tobacco of all types realising $266 million at an average price of $1.44 per kilogramme.

According to Tobacco Assoaciation of Malawi (Tama), there is still a lot of tobacco in big centres such as Kasungu, Salima and Kasiya.

Tama Spokesperson, Sam Kalimba, expressed satisfaction with the extension.

“We are very happy that government is considerate. Every farmer produces tobacco to sell and the extension means that every farmer will be able to sell his/her tobacco this year,” he said.

This year’s estimated crop production based on the third crop assessment conducted in June was 182 million kilogrammes and according to AHL, all this estimated tobacco has been bought.

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