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Tobacco sales progress impresses stakeholders

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Teresa Ndanga

Stakeholders in the tobacco supply chain have expressed satisfaction with the ongoing tobacco market as the leaf has raked in $143 million within first 11 weeks of sales from 86.9 million kilogrammes (kg).

According to figures from AHL Group, the revenue is higher than $110 million the leaf fetched during same time last year from 72.7 million kg.

Average price has improved to $1.64 per kg from $1.51 per kg.

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AHL Group spokesperson Teresa Ndanga touted market trends, albeit a rise in rejection rate during the review week to 42 percent from 38 in the preceding week.

“This is the only concern for us because we want the rejection rate to continue decreasing for the benefit of farmers and the economy,” Ndanga said.

Tobacco Association of Malawi Trust President Abiel Kalima Banda said the body was impressed with progress of sales.

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He, however, said farmers expected buyers to offer slightly higher prices for the leaf as demand remains elevated.

“If the buyers would buy at good prices, it means the farmers will go back to the field so that we match the demand because we cannot match the demand if growers are getting little money,” he added.

Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Graciun Lungu said the ministry had also noticed improvements on the market and was confident that farmers would be motivated to cultivate the crop again.

Tobacco is the main export earner for the country and this year’s hope of improving the import cover which has been dwindling.

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