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Tobacco sales worsen

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Tobacco growers at Kanengo Auction Floors in Lilongwe were, Thursday, left speechless as prices showed no recovery from Wednesday’s poor start.

The Daily Times established that 4,003 burley tobacco bales, grown mostly by smallholder farmers, were on offer for sale on auction system.

But the rejection rate had increased by 43.6 percent, from 30 percent on Wednesday to 73.6 percent.

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The lowest price offered still remained US$0.80 cents (about K537) per kilogramme (kg) while the highest price was US$1.51 (about K1 045) per kg.

This is in sharp contrast to Wednesday’s sales when the highest price was US$1.80 (K1 209) per kg.

In an interview, some farmers expressed disappointment with the prices offered.

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Gilbert Mazengera, who took 20 bales to the market, said: “I brought 20 bales. Eighteen of them have been bought at US$1.10 per kg while the remaining ones were bought at US$0.80. The selling season has not started well. These are the prices we were being given at the end of last season.”

Chiphwanya Chinkhoswe also lamented: “I brought 11 bales; six have been bought at US$0.80 each. Yet fertiliser prices are high. We were spending K24,000 for a bag of fertiliser. We will definitely make losses.”

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