Malawi tobacco market suspended at Limbe Auction

Tobacco sales at Malawi’s Limbe Auction Floor have been suspended on the first dual of sales opening due to wrangling over low prices.

Market farmers protested prices were too low for them to make a profit.

This comes after this year’s tobacco market was opened by President Joyce Banda at Lilongwe Auction Floors on Monday amidst similar concerns.

Auction Holdings CEO Evans Matabwa conducts JB through the tobacco floors
Auction Holdings CEO Evans Matabwa conducts JB through the tobacco floors

The buyers were offering very prices for the leaf contrary to the prescribed prices, a situation that resulted to suspension of the sales.

A tobacco farmer said growers were getting a raw deal since the costs of inputs have gone up with the weakening national currency, the Kwacha.

During the opening of the Limbe market, tobacco was being bought less than a dollar on a Kg.

Tobacco Control Commission boss Dr Bruce Munthali said buyers also were not happy with the grading of the leaf since most of it had mixed grades.

Tobacco accounts for up to 60-percent of Malawi’s foreign exchange earnings.  Up to 80-percent of Malawians are directly or indirectly dependent of the industry.

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