Tobacco farmers in Limbe have started off on a good note as the leaf fetched US$1.50 soon after the opening of the auction floors.
As the day progressed, the tobacco prices went down to US$1.00, bringing a flicker of hope to the smoky industry but the main stay of the country’s economy.
However, buyers and tobacco authorities expressed concern over the presence of non tobacco materials in tobacco bails.
Tobacco Control Commission (TCC)board chair Paramount Chief Kawinga asked farmers to stop putting plastics, stones and other non tobacco materials in bail if the buyers were to offer good prices.
“There are some unscrupulous farmers who either buy or bring poor quality tobacco but expect better prices and if they do not get what they want, they end up saying they are being riped off yet it is their product that is of poor quality,” he said.
TCC chief executive officer David Luka asked the farmers to stick to their quota provided by the commission so that demand is high and supply is low to push tobacco prices up.
“We are excited with the start of this season and the commission is keen to ensuring that we continue with the pace at which we have started with.
“We have designed a system whereby there will be frequent engagements with all players not only when there is a problem but to monitor progress of the marketing season,” he said.
Last year the tobacco market was marred by low prices and high rejection rate of the leaf.