Tobacco, Malawi’s top export crop, has raked in $62.3 million in the first seven weeks of sales after trading 41.1 million Kilogrammes (kgs) of all types of tobacco at an average price of $1.52 per kg.
However, the earnings are lower than the $62.9 million realised during same period last year from 44.8 million kgs of tobacco sold at an average price of $1.52 per kg.
At end of week seven, the market saw the rate of no sale rejection going down to 40 percent from 50 percent recorded during the same time last year.
Tobacco Commission (TC) Corporate Planning and Development Manager, Hellings Nason, said despite selling lower volume of tobacco, the market has seen a significant improvement in average prices.
He said the situation would continue improve as the market is likely to register entry of new buyers.
“We are impressed with the progress because average price for this year have been steady, they are above what we got in the same period last year. You may also recall that when we were opening the market, we registered high rates of no sale rejection rate, but this far there has been a great improvement,” Nason said.
In an interview Tuesday, Tobacco Association of Malawi Chief Executive Officer, Felix Thole, said outlook for the remaining weeks is positive.
Thole then urged farmers to trust the system for smooth running of the market.
This season, tobacco output is estimated at 154.6 million kgs which is about 6.6 percent shy to last year’s 165.6 million kgs.
Last year, the country realised $237 million from the 165.6 million kgs of all types of tobacco sold at an average price of $1.43.
Tobacco remains the country’s major foreign exchange earner.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.