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A Decline for Malawian tobacco growers fears Tama

Woman tending to Tobacco Farm

Woman tending to Tobacco Farm

A Decline for Malawian Tobacco growers fears Tama

BLANTTRE-(MaraviPost)-Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) fears that more farmers would not grow tobacco during forthcoming season due to poor prices experienced this year as the 2019 tobacco marketing season closes on September 20.

Tobacco being the Malawi’s principal foreign exchange earner but  there calls yo diversify in view of declining world prices due to anti tobacco  lobbies,  among other reasons.

According  to the press statement released by the Tobacco commission(TC) Tuesday  announcing that the 2019 season at Limbe,  Chinkha and Mzuzu Auction floors closes on September 13, with last tobacco  deliveries  ending on September 11.

Farmers still have time to deliver their tobacco until September 18 as Lilongwe Auction Floor winds up business  on 20 September.

“Tobacco growers,  transporters,  buying companies and commercial graders are urged to make necessary bookings for tobacco deliveries to ensure smooth closure of the season”, TC statement reads.

Tama chief executive officer, Felix Thole,  said that this year’s season has left tobacco growers in the country  with alot of scars resulting from poor prices.

Comparing with last season,  Thole said ths season closed with an average price of US$1.67 per kilogramme for all types of tobacco,  translating to US$330 million.

Total earning for this year are expected to drop  to US$1.47 million by the close of the season.

Thole also said that the assessment has shown that this year, the farmers have been greatly affected because of prices and other factors and they are afraid that most of their farmers might not grow tobacco this coming season  because most of them did not make enough money  to buy farm inputs.

Officials are also blamed for overestimating this year’s tobacco production,  which he said forced buyers to offer low prices.

“This year it was estimated that we would have 207 million kilogrammes of tobacco,  while on the ground the production is around 160 million kilogrammes.

“This incorrect production estimates also contributed to poor prices. Aw hope to find a better way of dealing with inaccurate estimates to avoid creating panic long buyers “,  he said.