Tobacco farmers request Malawi govt permission to sale the leaf abroad

Frustrated tobacco farmers at Limbe Auction Floors have asked the government to give them permission sale their leaf abroad following the high rate of tobacco rejection rate at the market.

Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda (R) inspecting the leaf at Limbe Auction Floors
Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda (R) inspecting the leaf at Limbe Auction Floors

The tobacco farmers mostly from Mayaka in Zomba said they were baffled with the high rejection rate of tobacco, calling it unprecedented.

“They have rejected my tobacco seven times yet the quality is very good. We don’t know what they are looking for,” said Amos Mangani.

Francis Chaweza said he brought 40 bales of tobacco at the start of the market and non has been bought.

“They should just give us permission to sell abroad so that we can recover the money we borrowed to grow the tobacco and pay for the labour during farming,” he said.

Robert Muheya talked of poverty in his house, saying there is no food, no groceries and creditors are on his neck.

“The government can just come in and buy our tobacco even at 40 cents per kilogram, we are in despair now we can allow anything as long as we get anything for our food,” he said.

Officials from Limbe Auction Floors refused to comment on these stories, saying they were in discussion with tobacco buyers on the same.

President Peter Mutharika on Wednesday made a surprise visit to Chinkhoma Tobacco market in Kasungu.

The unstable tobacco prices and the high rejection rate of tobacco are partly to blame for the shrinking and volatile economy, according to economists.

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6 years ago

I support the idea. If the buyers do not want our tobacco, let the seller look for other markets. This is just fair. We know these buyers have freedom to buy tobacco either here in Malawi or in our neighboring countries. Government please give our stranded farmers a chance to hunt for market elsewhere. If this is impossible in the eyes of those who issue permits, then the government should buy the rejected tobacco.

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