Officials from the tobacco industry are not sure when the buying season will come to an end but said the future of the gold leaf in Malawi still looks smoky and foggy.
AHL Group corporate affairs minister Mark Ndipita said tobacco has raked in K103 billion so far compared to K153 billion same time last year.
“To be frank, there is no hope in tobacco. The rejection rate remains with Kanengo Auction Floors registering 75% rejection rate, Limbe registering 81% and Mzuzu registering 53%.,” said Ndipita.
He said tobacco prices remains to be low and that the high rejection rate coupled with low tobacco prices are forcing farmers to keep their tobacco.
“There is more tobacco out there so it is not possible to predict when the buying season will come to an end,” he said.
Tobacco Control Commission chief executive officer Albert Changaya said the tobacco industry is now introducing quota system starting from next year to deal with the high rejection rate of tobacco.
He said the Tobacco Control Commission and the ministry of Agriculture will do a countrywide census for tobacco farmers and each farmer will be given the number of kilograms to grow.
“The tobacco buyers have already told us how much tobacco they will need next year so from the figure, we will know how much kilograms each farmer should grow,” he said.
Finance minister Goodall Gondwe has told Malawians to grow more legumes which he said has a lot of market in Asia.