Earnings from Malawi’s top export crop, tobacco, reached $17,918,572.34 by end of third week of trading, figures in a weekly sales report released by the Tobacco Commission (TC) on Monday show.
The amount represents an 86 percent jump when compared to the $9.7 million realised at the end of the second week of sales.
However, the amount is 1 percent shy of the $18.1 million realised during the same period last year.
Currently 11.1 million kilograms (kgs) of all types of tobacco have been sold at an average price of $1.54.
There is hope among tobacco farmers that they may earn more this year than last season.
At the end of the third week, average price was seen at $1.34. But the rejection rate in all markets averaged 40 percent.
TC Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala, said the rejection situation will ease in coming weeks as more top quality tobacco will be brought to the market.
“Rejection is still relatively high especially on auction. Overall average rejection rate is averaging around 40 percent, it seems most buyers are concentrating more on their contracted volumes before participating fully on auction. We are engaging the buyers with a view to improve the situation.
“Otherwise growers should be assured that all tobacco will be bought,” Sadala said.
Tobacco is by far Malawi’s top foreign exchange earner followed by tea and sugar.
Production for this season was estimated at 154,677,625 kgs, about 6.6 percent less than 165, 641,698 kgs produced last year.
The output is also 4.5 percent shy of the 161.4 million kgs international market demand.
Last year the country sold 165.6 million killogrammes of tobacco realizing $237 million at an average price of $1.43.