Increased exports production only cure for Malawi’s ailing economy, says Chakwera
Malawi President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera says increased production of export commodities is the only permanent prescription to cure Malawi’s economic instability.
Speaking when he inaugurated tobacco marketing season on Wednesday at Lilongwe Auction Floors, the Malawi leader emphasized that the country needs increased quantity, variety and the quality of what it produces to competitively generate revenue from global markets.
He said aid that gets poured into this country from other nations is a comforting and supportive band aid that soothes the economic wound our communities suffer but it will never be the solution or cure for our economic maladies.
“It is that simple. Now to increase the quantity, the variety and the quality of what we produce as a country we have to do the work. No one is going to do that work for us. And as I have stated previously, the primary and priority sectors in which we must work harder, smarter and together to increase productivity are agriculture, tourism and mining,” explained the president.
“This is what I have referred to as our ATM strategy and it is absolutely critical that everyone of us consider how to support these three sectors to increase the quality, the variety and the quantity of products to generate the forex revenue that our country needs for its development.”
The Malawi leader explained that the biggest challenge haunting the country is that while every one of us is a forex consumer, only very few of us are forex producers.
On this note, the president said as a nation, we have appetite for consumption but we do not have a matching appetite for production and the trend needs to change as a matter of urgency.
Chakwera said tobacco farmers are the ones keeping Malawi economy on its feet and giving the country access to all the goods and services it enjoys from other countries.
He said if all the tobacco farmers stopped producing tobacco today, the Malawi economy would collapse.
“Tobacco farmers are the ones making it possible for the rest of us to wear imported clothes, buy imported fuel, take imported medicines, travel abroad, watch foreign channels on our televisions, ride in imported cars, and so forth,” he added.
“So as far as I am concerned, we must do everything we can to support tobacco farming to increase its
productivity because whether anyone likes it or not, tobacco farmers are the ones keeping our economy
on its feet and giving us access to all the goods and services we enjoy from other countries.”
The opening of the market automatically brings a flicker of hope to the country as expectations are high that the market will continue to ease the shortage of foreign exchange currency in the economy thereby soothing the importation of strategic commodities such as fuel and pharmaceuticals.
Meanwhile, the tobacco industry regulator, Tobacco Commission (TC) says about 20,000 bales of tobacco have been availed at the floors, with an estimated 2600 expected to be sold today.
Malawian tobacco farmers are expected to enjoy good prices that will fetch the leaf this year as ten tobacco buying companies are set to compete to purchase an estimated output of 126 million kilograms.
Such a volume is deemed by the tobacco industry as an underproduction owing to several external shocks including the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy which washed away many tobacco fields.
A random visit inside the floors shows that some bales are fetching a record high of US$2.40 (about MK3,600) per kilogram on auction marketing which has already sent farmers smiling ear to ear.
Chinkhoma, Limbe and Mzuzu Auction Floors are also scheduled to open 13th, 17th April, and 2nd May, respectively.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :