Tobacco rakes in $16 million
Malawi has so far realised a total of $16.144 million from top forex earner, tobacco, since the market started on April 12.
The earnings are over $15 million better than the $961,785.69 the country realised in the first one-and a-half weeks of tobacco sales last year.
In terms of volumes, the country has, so far, traded 8.115 million kg as at April 21 compared to 647,085kg the country had traded in the first one-and-a-half weeks of trading last year.
In terms of pricing, the green gold has, so far, attracted an average price of $1.99/kg this year as compared $1.49/kg during a similar period last year.
This year, Malawi is expected to produce about 126 million kg of the green gold.
Speaking when he opened the Lilongwe Auction Floors on April 12, President Lazarus Chakwera said tobacco farmers are the number one forex producers in the country, adding that if all the tobacco farmers stopped producing tobacco today, the economy would collapse.
“Tobacco farmers are the ones making it possible for the rest of us to wear imported clothes, buy imported fuel, take imported medicines, travel abroad, watch foreign channels on our television, ride in imported cars, and so forth.
“So as far as I am concerned, we must do everything we can to support tobacco farming to increase its productivity because whether anyone likes it or not, tobacco farmers are the ones keeping our economy on its feet and giving us access to all the goods and services we enjoy from other countries,” Chakwera said.
The Malawi leader appealed to stakeholders in the industry to support tobacco farmers whose products sustain the local economy and Malawians’ way of life.
That support includes buying their products at fair prices, because buying tobacco at unfair prices does harm to the economy.
“Alternatively, buying the tobacco at decent prices motivates and empowers our tobacco growers to continue increasing the quality and quantity of their products going forward, which means it’s a win-win transaction,” Chakwera said.