Farmers organisation, the Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) has expressed dismay over the low tobacco prices on the first day of tobacco sales in Lilongwe.
FUM president Alfred Kapichira Banda said tobacco farmers will not be able to repay their farm input loans.
“These poor prices coupled with the appreciation of the kwacha will diminish projected earnings of the farmer,” he said.
Kapichira Banda said the tobacco farmer was growing tobacco when the kwacha was hovering around K1000 to a dollar saying which means they took the agricultural loan when the kwacha was trading at K1000 to a dollar.
However he said they are selling the tobacco when the kwacha is hovering around K600 to a dollar.
“This means the farmers will have losses, the difference is just big. Then we have these low prices of 80 cents, this will make the life of a farmer unbearable. The appreciation of the kwacha has killed the prices,” he said.
Alfred Changaya, chief executive officer of Tobacco Control Commission described the prices on the opening day of the auction floors on Thursday as average.
“It has been an average day, there have been a few rejections because of the quality of the leaf,” said Changaya.
Drama was not only on the prices but even the official opening of the floors as President Aurther Peter Mutharika (APM) forgot what he was there for.
“Ndikunena kuti tsopano lero ndatsegula ujeni…hahahaha ndatsegula ujeni” then the Democratic Progressive Party women started singing signalling the end of the function but he came back shouting “let me finish,” then said in English that the tobacco market was now officially open.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :