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Tobacco rakes in $49 million

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Malawi has realised $49 million from sales of tobacco within the first nine weeks of trading, figures released by market operator AHL Group show.

The country has sold 23.8 million kilogrammes (kg) of all types of tobacco at an average price of $2.60.

The price represents a 58.5 percent rise when compared to the $1.64 recorded on the market during the same time last year.

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However, the earnings have dropped by 56 percent while the volumes declined by 64.9 percent when compared to the $111.6 million and 67.9 million kg, respectively, recorded during the same period last year.

This year, the rejection rate has been overly reduced, averaging 6 percent in week nine.

In an interview, AHL General Manager Graham Kunimba said the difference in performance to that of last year, is perpetuated by the flow of volumes this year which was slow in the early weeks of the market.

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“The amount of volumes has picked up at the Lilongwe and Mzuzu floors but we are still struggling to get to full capacity at Limbe and Chinkhoma floors but we believe the situation will improve in coming months because the farmers still have huge volumes to present to the market.

“We had an issue with remittance of proceeds to farmers in the past week but I can confidently say that this has been rectified and farmers are receiving their earnings latest within 72 hours. This far, I have not received any complaints from farmers meaning that there is smooth flow in payments,” Kunimba said.

Commenting on the progress of the market, Tobacco Association of Malawi Trust President Abiel Kalima Banda said progress has been good and farmers are happy.

“We were afraid that the recent devaluation of the Kwacha will affect buyers and that there would be a draw back in market activity but we see that they (buyers) are continually buying the tobacco. The devaluation has also excited farmers because they are now able to receive more Kwachas than anticipated,” Banda said.

He further confirmed that payments are now being made within 48 and 72 hours, unlike the situation in previous weeks.

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