Malawi has earned K15 billion (about US$38 million) from tobacco sales during the first five weeks of the 2013/2014 marketing season, the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) announced Tuesday.
TCC chief executive officer Bruce Munthali told reporters in the capital Lilongwe that 28 million kilogrammes of tobacco have so far been sold at the auction floors compared to 18.8 million sold last year the same period.
The earnings so far this season were 38 percent higher than during the same period last year.
He attributed the increase to the firm prices offered by buyers for the golden leaf.
“We are happy with the way our tobacco is being sold at the market and we are hoping that as the market goes on the prices will increase for better,” he said.
Munthali said tobacco still remains the ‘main driver’ of Malawi’s economy because of its contribution to the country’s wealth.
“This is a crop which continues to contribute about 60 percent of Malawi’s total export earnings, and where government derives 25 percent of total tax base, directly employing 12 percent of Malawi population and also contributing 13 percent of Malawi gross domestic product (GDP).”
The increase in tobacco earnings this year could aid the economy’s ability to sit on adequate foreign currency.
Last year, Malawi earned $362 million from 168 million kilogrammes of tobacco. A significant improvement from $177 million earned from 79.8 million kilogrammes in 2012.