By Chimwemwe Mangazi:
Malawi has realised a total of $30.196 million from tobacco sales in four weeks, figures from the Tobacco Commission (TC) indicate.
The amount was realised from the sale of 22.297 million kilogrammes (kg) of the green gold.
This year ’s traded volumes and revenue are 23 percent and 11 percent weaker, respectively, when compared to the same time last year when 29,123,769 kg had raked in $44.315 million at an average price of $1.52 per kg.
Tobacco Association of Malawi Chief Executive Officer, Alex Thole, said the decline in volumes reaching the market had been perpetuated by transportation challenges that hit the sector in the first three weeks.
On prices, Thole said most of the tobacco was sold on the auction side of the market which regularly offers lower prices than the contract market.
He expressed hope that, if the prices improve later in the season, Malawi could reach or even surpass the $330 million realised at the end of the season last year.
“The performance in the first four weeks has also been affected by high rejection rate which, at one point, reached 70 percent but now it has improved, standing at 30 percent, which is still high,” Thole said.
Tobacco is Malawi’s major foreign exchange earner accounting for about 20 percent of the country’s export earnings.