Farmers bemoan low tobacco prices on first day of selling

Some farmers have bemoaned low tobacco prices offered by buyers and have since asked President Lazarus Chakwera’s to intervene.
The farmers said this on Thursday at Kanengo Auction Floors in Lilongwe where President Chakwera officially opened tobacco market season.
Being the first day of the marketing season, farmers expectations for better prices were high unfortunately it has started at a poor note.
Chakwera assured the farmers that the government will intervene.
However, he also advised them to grade their tobacco properly so as to satisfy the buyers requirements of the leaf quantity and subsequently get desired prices.
On the auction market today, the highest price on offer being displayed is $1.75 and the minimum is $0.95. On the contract market, the highest price offer being displayed is $2. 30 with the minimum price being $0.95.
According to Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) there are more than 1,000 bales in the Lilongwe Auction Floors on the first day of the 2022 tobacco marketing season.
TCC has also disclosed that, there are nine companies to buy the leaf this marketing season, one of them being newly unveiled  Protrade Group Limited which is wholly owned by Malawians.
Chakwera said this year’s tobacco market has opened earlier than ever before to cushion challenges affecting farmers.
He said everyone in the country is a beneficiary of tobacco because it is the main cash crop that helps to bring in forex.
Chakwera said tobacco is the main contributor of Gross Domestic Product GDP which means that everyone must have interest in the sector.
He has since expressed hope that quality tobacco produced will get good prices on the market.
Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe said there is a new Malawian buyer of tobacco (Petrode) which will help to increase competition on the market.
Lowe added that they will continue monitoring the market as lower tobacco has proven to have fetched good prices and they expect more going forward of the marketing season.
He has since warned authorities from AHL to avoid politicising the market as this is being done for the betterment of Malawians.
According to Lowe, tobacco is the sole hope to improve living standards of people hence the need for prices to remain constant.
Update from the opening of the tobacco market.
Jolly Nkhonjera, Board Member for AHL group said projections are indicating that there will be low tobacco production due to natural disasters.
Nkhonjera has however expressed hope that farmers will leap fruits from their sweat as there is high demand against supply.
According to Nkhonjera, restructuring that the group is taking is targeted at improved performance which recently saw the group being affected by financial constraints.
At the moment, authorities have also said that the reduction of withholding tax for tobacco from  3 to 1 percent is said to be great milestone that will help farmers to make huge profits from tobacco.
On the first day, there are 1870 bales of Tobacco at Kanengo Auctions Floors.
This year as compared to last year’s production of 123 million Kilogrammes of tobacco has reduced by 20 percent.
On low prices been fetched at the market this year there is sharp improvement from 90 to 95 percent while this time around rejection rate is at 15 percent.
Last year the country produced 123million killograms and raked in about 160 billion kwacha.

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