The country has earned US$219 million, roughly K159 billion, from tobacco sales, the main cash crop, in thirteen weeks, a Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) official has confirmed.
Southern region manager Willard Singo told Zodiak the money has been realized after selling over 126 million kilograms of the green gold in all five tobacco auction flours across Malawi.
“We are impressed with how the market is progressing in spite of few challenges, but this year we have seen a great improvement,” said Singo.
Singo says at least 55 million kilograms of tobacco has been sold through Kanengo Auction Flours in Lilongwe and a total of US$96 million, roughly K70 billion, has been earned.
Limbe Auction Flours in Blantyre has so far sold 17 million kilos of tobacco to the tune of US$31 million US dollars which is about K23 billion, said Singo.
Similarly, Chinkhoma floors have realized US 51 million (K37 billion) after selling 31 million kilograms of tobacco in the 13 weeks.
Mzuzu and Kabwafu auction flours have earned US$ 36 million (K26 billion) and K4.6 million (K3.3 billion) after selling 21 million kilograms and 1.7 million kilograms of tobacco in the same period respectively.
Singo said tobacco has been sold at an average price of 1 dollar 73 cents in the 13 weeks.
While the TCC official says this is a great achievement some tobacco growers at Limbe Auction Floors reacted differently.
For instance, John Fakison from Zomba laments that he has sold almost all his bales 0f tobacco at 1 dollar 50 cents, which he said is very low.
“Those who were on contract markets have at least fetched high prices than us, on auction market, I expected to sell tobacco not less than 2 dollars per kilogram, but this is what is have experienced,” he said.
Tobacco production estimates for this year are at 148 million kilograms against a demand of 171 million kilograms.