Malawi top forex generator tobacco revenue up -TCC

Official statistics compiled by the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) have shown that  Malawi’s tobacco revenue and volume at the national level have doubled in the second week of trading the leaf, reaching US$ 6.8 million  (about K2.7 billion), way above the US$2.1 million earned during the same period last year.

TCC Chief Executive Officer Bruce Munthali attributes the surge in earnings to an increase in demand on the global market coupled plus a product of high quality.

“There is a significant increase in both tobacco volume sold and earnings,” Munthali said on Zodiak Broadcastig Services.

“This mainly is due to the fact that farmers produced good quality tobacco this year,” said Munthali.

Tobacco still remains Malawi main source of economic livelihood at micro level as well as an engine of growth at macro level.
Tobacco still remains Malawi main source of economic livelihood at micro level as well as an engine of growth at macro level.

Munthali also hailed buyers for offering competitive prices.

Last year’s tobacco didn’t fetch good prices, a development which also affected availability of forex in the country. Though the production of the tobacco is being discouraged by world organizations, Malawi depends on it.

According to the TCC statistics, tobacco revenue, volume and the average price realised on the market so far represents 216 percent, 161 percent and 21 percent higher than what was realised in the same periods last year.

So far, as of Friday last week, about 5.4 million kilogrammes of tobacco was sold which is 125 percent higher than the 2.4 million kilogrammes sold in the first week.

The tobacco average price has also marginally improved in the second week of trading $1.27 (about K508), slightly higher than the average price of $1.25 (about K480) in the first week.

TCC spokesperson Juliana Chidumu said the Commission is excited with the market performance so far and expressed hope that the trend will continue for the rest of the marketing season.

“It is a positive development and we are excited. Prices have started on a positive not this year and have surpassed the performance of last year. We are working hard to ensure that this trend continues,” said Chidumu, as quoted by The Nation.

Chidumu also urged tobacco growers to appreciate improved tobacco prices on the market and not smuggle the leaf to other countries a situation which he says makes Malawi to lose out the much-needed foreign currency.

She also reiterated that the weakening of the kwacha currency against international currencies, especially the United States dollar, should benefit tobacco growers as it would boost their earnings per each kilogramme.

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