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Tobacco production likely to drop by 35%

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This year’s tobacco production is expected to go down by between 35 to 40 percent, according to various sources in the sector.

Individual assessments indicate that most farmers have shunned the crop this year, after a poor performance of the market last year.

Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) is the sectors’ regulatory body and is mandated to do crop assessments every growing season.

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The first assessment for this season has just been released, but TCC could not give out the details of the outcome.

TCC Deputy Chief Executive Officer, David Luka, said that the results for the first assessment might not mean much.

“Let us wait for the second assessment. Of course, it is obvious that the sector will experience a drop considering that the market did not perform well last year,” Luka said.

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He further said that the second assessment is expected to start soon and that TCC will make public final figures for this season.

“Our team will be going for the second assessment by next week because in some areas the crop will be ready soon and we would like to consolidate the figures in good time. These are the figures that matter most unlike for the first assessment,” he said.

On the crop outlook, Luka said that this year’s crop is of good quality.

“We have had good rains in areas where tobacco is grown, which assures us of good quality,” Luka said.

Recently, Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama), said that the country is likely to register a drop in the sector.

Tama Acting Chief Executive Officer, Lemson Chitawo, said that most growers have reacted to last year’s poor prices and high rejection rates by growing less tobacco.

“It is obvious that there will be low production. We should expect a lower percentage for this year’s production but as Tama we are not in position to say by how much because assessments are done by TCC only,” Chitawo said.

He, however, concurred with Luka that quality of the leaf for this year is very good.

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