Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe has hinted that tobacco farmers in the country are poised to earn highly from their labour since production of the green gold has been low due to natural disasters and, therefore, there will be high demand on the part of buyers.
Lowe said on Thursday during the official launch of the 2022 tobacco market season at Kanengo Auction Floors, graced by President Lazarus Chakwera, that the country has produced 103 million kilograms against 123 million kilograms that were produced last year.
“This is a plus to the farmers because it is obvious that there will be high demand. We will monitor the market from now moving forward, and it will be surprising when the buyers offer lower prices for a commodity that is in short supply,” Lowe said.
He urged the 2022 nine buyers – including newly licensed Malawian buyer Petrode – to be honest and not rip-off Malawians.
“We have awarded a Malawian buyer, and we hope this will increase competition on the market. We believe that the prices that the leaf has fetched today will remain the trend throughout the market season,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Auction Holdings Limited (AHL) group board member, Jolly Nkhonjera, said that the group was doing some restructuring to better its performance especially financially.
In his remarks, President Chakwera said his government would ensure that farmers are not exploited.
“We will continue to engage buyers on increasing tobacco prices. But you [farmers] need to ensure high quality leaf so that buyers offer better prices,” Chakwera said.
According to Chakwera, every Malawian is a beneficiary of tobacco because it is the main cash crop that helps to bring in forex.