Revenue from tobacco, Malawi’s main export crop, hit $110.2 million by end of week 11 of trading, figures from market operator, AHL Group, show.
By the same time last year, the country had raked in $125.1 million from sales of the green gold.
According to the statistics, 72.7 million kilogrammes (kgs) of all types of tobacco were sold during the period under review this year at an average price of $1.51 per kg.
This is, however, about 12.5 million kgs shy of the 85.2 million kgs traded during a similar period last year.
Average price for the leaf stood at $1.40 by end of week 11 of sales compared to $1.47 it was fetching during the same time last season.
Tobacco growers’ representative body, Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) Trust, say farmers are not satisfied with price trends on the market.
Tama Trust Chief Executive Officer, Nixon Lita, said in an interview yesterday that growers pray for an improvement in the price trends if they are to make the most of their effort.
“The price trend is not as farmers would have wished especially considering the few kilogrammes sold. It seems auction prices are low and rejection rate is very high,” Lita said.
Meanwhile a new buyer from Zimbabwe Voedsel Tobacco International has arrived on the market and engaged in its first purchase Tuesday.
Speaking in an earlier interview, Tobacco Commission Chief Executive Officer Kaisi Sadala expressed hope that prices may improve with the coming in of the new buyer.
Sadala said that the commission expects that there should be more competition on the market which he hopes will also propel prices up.
This season tobacco output is estimated at 154.6 million kgs which is 6.6 percent lower than last year’s 165.6 million kgs.
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.