Malawi President Peter Mutharika is scheduled to officially inaugurate the 2015 tobacco auctions sales on Wednesday April amid anxiety surrounding Malawian farmers’ expectations of prices with the Kwacha currency reportedly gaining against the United States dollar.
State House press officer Chikondi Juma informed Nyasa Times in a statement on Easter Monday that President Mutharika will open the tobacco market at Kanengo Auction Floors in the capital Lilongwe.
Farmers want to get a better deal from the sales this year amidst complaints of exploitation.
Bruce Munthali, the Tobacco Control Commission’s chief executive, said lethal floods in Malawi which killed at least 200 people caused extensive damage to tobacco, the country’s leading hard currency earner
“Many fields were washed away and the impact on the economy is obvious because tobacco is our main forex earner,” Munthali said.
The tobacco industry contributes to more than 60 percent of Malawi’s foreign exchange earnings.
It also contributes to 23 percent of all Malawi’s tax earnings and over 80 percent of Malawians are directly or indirectly employed by the tobacco industry.