Some irate tobacco growers expressed anger on Wednesday in Limbe after tobacco prices dropped from the initial $2.31 per kg in the morning to $1.08 after midday.
This is despite a recent report by the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) showing that the crop’s sales have gone up by 58 percent against same time last year.
One of the growers Alice Chitseko said it was disappointing to note that there is increasing cases price drops during this time when there is quality leaf on the market.
“We invest our time and money so that we reap handsomely but the buyers are not doing us any good because they decide the prices which is an ancient way of doing business, this must stop as we feel cheated for so long,” said Chitseko.
Another farmer at the Limbe auction floors John Wilfred said it is no longer lucrative to get low prices as the kwacha is also gaining value by each passing day.
“We are being cut from all fronts if it is not the low price we get on the floors then it is the kwacha on the market which to us is misbehaving as its strength means reduced earnings for us, it is hard to understand these sometimes because by the end of the day I have been use and have no-one to complain to,” Wilfred said.
The kwacha opened the week on a high as of Monday banks were buying the US dollar at K324 and selling it at K347 compared to the all time high of K480.
In the latest TCC said value for all the 70.8 million kgs tobacco sold so far is $134,936,166.19 against $85,613,834.28 in 2012 collected from 42.1 million kgs with the average price down by 6.29 percent at $190.51 from $203.30 in 2012.
As of 17 May earnings from tobacco and donor inflows gave Malawi and import cover of 1 month 20 days or $311 million foreign exchange reserves.