The Tobacco Commission says preparations for the early opening of this year’s marketing season later this month are at an advanced stage, with the licensing of key stakeholders expected to be finalised by Friday, 11th March.
TC revealed this in Lilongwe on Wednesday when the industry regulator met the country’s floors operator, AHL, on readiness for the marketing season.
Among those whose licensing TC is finalising are commercial graders, hessian schemes operators, transporters and AHL.
TC Chief Executive Officer Dr Joseph Chidanti-Malunga says the Commission is confident of successful business operations at the floors following AHL’s assurance of the group of companies’ preparedness.
“Based on the reported progress of preparations by the key stakeholders, we are ready for this year’s marketing season,” said Dr Chidanti-Malunga.
According to TC, the tobacco marketing season opens early this year in the economic interest of growers whose tobacco will be ready this month.
Traditionally, Malunga said, sales have always started after March.
Announcing the early opening in February, he said, it was evident that the late onset of rainfall this season would affect tobacco production, hence the need to provide an opportunity to growers ready with their leaf in March to get their proceeds early as well.
The Commission is expected to announce the dates for the opening of the tobacco markets within the second week of the month.
Malunga said in the 2021/2022 farming season, TC licensed the production of 161 million kilogrammes of tobacco.