Despite good sales at auction, tobacco growers still frustrated with delays in receiving payment

Tobacco growers’ representative body, Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) Trust, has expressed dismay at continued delays in receiving payment for tobacco sold.

Some farmers are getting their dues a week after selling their tobacco, which is contrary to standard practice to have the money settled within 24 hours.

In an interview, Tama Trust Vice President Rhodes Sulumba rated the situation as the only setback this season.

“This far, the trading is going on smoothly as average prices are also going up. However, we are still facing a challenge of delays of payments as tobacco farmers are receiving proceeds sometimes after six days, sometimes a week and even beyond that.

“We are still expecting the Tobacco Commission (TC), as the regulator, to come out with measures to eradicate this problem,” Sulumba said.

TC spokesperson Telephorus Chigwenembe said the concerns were being handled on a case-to-case basis.

“In some of such cases, it is to do with complications with farmers’ bank accounts. We do not believe it’s a problem that has affected many growers.

“However, we will find out the extent of the problem and where bottlenecks are. Every selling season, there are a few cases of delayed payments for various reasons. Such cases get resolved eventually,” Chigwenembe said.

Tobacco Commission (TC) PRO, Telephorus Chigwenembe

Meanwhile, the tobacco marketing season has entered week 12 with prices, volumes and earnings surpassing last year’s records.

At the end of week 11 of tobacco sales, earnings reached $327 million, surpassing last year’s total earnings recorded at $282.62 million.

This means that before the end of the 2024 tobacco marketing season, the country has already realised 15.7 percent more than what was realised at the end of the season last year.

A weekly tobacco update published by AHL Tobacco Sales indicates that 112 million kilogrammes (kg) of all tobacco types had been sold after 11 weeks of sales in the 2024 season, compared to 94.3 million kilogrammes of all tobacco types traded during similar period in 2023.

This represents an 18.8 percent increase in sales volume this year.



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