Tobacco to remain Malawi’s hub—Mutharika tells buyers to offer good prices

President Peter Mutharika on Wednesday officially opened this year’s  tobacco marketing season at Kanengo Auction Floors in Lilongwe with a call from tobacco buyers to offer good prices for the green gold and  reiterated that tobacco will remain Malawi’s main foreign exchange earner despite the ongoing global anti- smoking lobby.

President Mutharika, vice president Saulos Chilima and Minister of Agriculture at the tobacco auction floors

President Mutharika, vice president Saulos Chilima and Minister of Agriculture at the tobacco auction floors

Mutharika inspecting the leaf

Mutharika inspecting the leaf

Mutharika said he will not stand aloof and watch his farmers being exploited, pointing out that tobacco is a crop of national strategic importance for the role it plays in the national economy.

“My government will continue to engage with our customers overseas to ensure that our tobacco farmers are protected. We are engaging different companies to explore and widen the tobacco exports to the US and other destinations globally,” said Mutharika.

The opening of the season comes at a time the country is bound to yield lower than expected volume of tobacco on the backdrop of ravaging floods that damaged and washed away crops, including Malawi’s major foreign exchange earner, tobacco.

Tobacco Control Commission (TCC)is projecting that the country will yield 181.6 million kilogrammes (kg) of all tobacco varieties, namely burley, flue-cured and dark-fired.

Mutharika said the importance of tobacco to the Malawi economy cannot be over-emphasized since it is contributing greatly to the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

“My Government is therefore promoting tobacco production and marketing as a crop of strategic importance so that our farmers in the rural areas are economically empowered,” said Mutharika.

The Malawi leader said his sovernment is also determined to promoting value addition to increase export earnings from tobacco through manufacturing of cigarettes, pipe tobacco snuff, cigars and cigarillos.

Mutharika said he is aware that aware that the tobacco industry is facing a lot of challenges and key among them is the issue of the anti-smoking lobby spearheaded by the World Health Organisation Framework Convention in Tobacco Control in order to safeguard human health.

“This has had and will continue to have negative effects on demand for tobacco world-wide and may therefore seriously affect Malawi’s foreign exchange earnings and the livelihoods of our tobacco farmers.”

On the future of tobacco in Malawi, Mutharika said  Malawian growers should expect bright future  in tobacco growing and marketing followings series of meetings which the president has been having with the international customers.

“I have had meetings with some of our tobacco merchants as well as international customers in order to strengthen our relationships with them but also to find ways of adding value to the tobacco they buy from us.  As I am speaking, a number of foreign companies including our traditional tobacco customers have shown interest to invest in tobacco cigarette manufacturing and other secondary tobacco products,” said Mutharika.

Mutharika said “We are all aware that Malawi cannot stop growing tobacco overnight  we will continue growing tobacco based on trade requirements until when there is no demand.”

TCC chief executive officer Bruce Munthali said the organisation has licensed three new tobacco buyers, including Chinese firm Sino-Ma, which will also set up a cigarette processing factory in the country.

“We have licensed three new buyers this year and one of them a Chinese company named Sino-Ma, which is ready to spend around $30 million (about K13 billion) to purchase tobacco and set up a plant for processing secondary tobacco products like smokeless cigarettes,” he said.

Last year, Malawi earned $362 million from 168 million kg of tobacco at auction floors level, a similar value it earned in 2013.

In 2012, the country realised $177 million, which was lower than the $292 million revenue it earned in 2011.

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17 thoughts on “Tobacco to remain Malawi’s hub—Mutharika tells buyers to offer good prices”

  1. It seems even our first citizen have little or no impact on this gold leaf,its the leadership of this poor country that contributes to this sad system of
    Marketing,why giving the buyers licenses to produce the crop?even an ordinary farmer knows the weakness of our government,bora iwo akunyauda ndi ndalama za alimi, but one day they shall be held accounterble.Remember these poor farmers crying voices are capable of bringing calamity on your lives,I mean u oppressors.

  2. anthony says:

    Why do we accept low prices we malawians are so stupid why not to stop them and allow other countries who can offer good prices like the new chinese one

  3. Pemphero says:

    Why cnt malawi as a country legalize chamba so as to substitute tobaco

  4. makape nonse mumalima fodya bwanji osasiya kulima fodya kuti peter ndi gulu lake ziwamvútè

  5. ngala mountain says:

    koditu anthu amene amanena mitengowo sa azungu ,ndi anthu akuda kubera akuda anzawo .amanena kuti alawa,,pLll1 3 ,4. 6,5.ineyo maganizo anga ndi akuti tizichita hare anthu aku ZIMBABWE KAPENA KU ZAMBIA adzanenerere ndi amenewo osati amalawi ayi .Panopa kuti akugule mtengo wabwino uyenera uwapatse ndalama kaye ,kapena uwagawireko mabelo angapo ndiye zako ziyenda apo bii chako palibe .Taonani Dr Munthali kunenepa ndalama za alimi.

  6. mwapuno says:

    The title should have read POOR PRICES ONCE AGAIN CHARACTERISE THE OPENING OF TOBACCO SEASON.

    In early 1990s low grade tobacco was selling not less than usd1.40. Over twenty years down the line when prices of inputs have more than quadrupled the price is down to usd 1.20. Comparable quality is fetching 3 to 4 usd in Zimbabwe. Why are Malawi an farmers being offered slave prices? Where is the role of the state. Why are the poor farmers who are greatly contributing to the survival of the economy being left on their own to face the unbalanced market system?

  7. mbani says:

    Thieves kutibela achewa

  8. Makoko says:

    Koma Mitengo Yafodyayi Ithandiza Amalawi

  9. Watu says:

    Comment
    Pliz give farmers what they deserve since these ppl suffer alot to produce the green gold. It shouldnt be a lipstick that they wl get good prices while its you politicians who enrich yourselves @ the expense of poor farmers.

  10. osman usu justin says:

    1st paragraph;President Peter Mutharika on wednesday officially opened the 2012 tobacco marketing season…. Was Peter Mutharika a president in 2012?

  11. E mapapa says:

    Musatipweteke ife alimi.

  12. E mapapa says:

    Musatipheke ife alimi.

  13. Nyamakumutu says:

    Mukhitho is a calear ADC just look at how he is stratigically positioning Harold for security of the HE. That’s what he knows best.

  14. Felix tonic says:

    Shatup!usatipusisa mupitilize mpaka kumapeto kwa nsika koma osati good price chifukwa bwana anali pompo kwinako mayooooooo mayoooooo!Comment

  15. kadamanja says:

    I remember bwana president munati tizinena tokha mitengo yomwe azitigula, panopa mukuti mukukambirana nawo ma buyers kuti atigule bwino. zikutheka bwanji alimi ife tikuvutikatu. Kapena inali kampeni? Ndiposo wolemba nkhani akuti mwasegulila mutsika wa 2012, ndiye kuti munasegulila kaletu.

  16. Chosambava says:

    kodi uyu Chisale amangokhala pambuyo pa a polisi akufuna chani? Munthu anali corporal akuti ku MDF. Pano chief security wa president!!!! Chamba eti?

  17. ujeni says:

    Zosekesa, who advise the President, look he saw the comments people made when he wore suit and brought a red carpet when he went to flood affected areas, and he went further using a gold wheelbarrow moving it on a red carpet when he officiated a road inauguration. Today he decided to look a part with his wife, the all wore dust coats while the rest where in suits.

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