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Friday, 18 May 2018 16:07

Tobacco volumes increase at Auction Floors

Written by  Tione Andsen
Mwanamvekha sampling the tobacco leaf at the Auction Floors - Pic by Abel Ikiloni Mwanamvekha sampling the tobacco leaf at the Auction Floors - Pic by Abel Ikiloni

Lilongwe, May 18, 2018: Government has been impressed with increased volumes of tobacco at Auction floors as compared to last year’s marketing season. 

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha said this Friday when he made a surprise visit to Lilongwe Auction Floors and Alliance one factory in Kanengo.

He said as of May 16, 2018 the floors had received 48.7 million kilogrammes (Kg) of tobacco as compared to 23.9 million kg of tobacco during the same period of tobacco marketing season
Mwanamvekha said despite the increase in volume of tobacco, farmers are supplying the markets with good quality tobacco.

“I am impressed with what I have seen at both places and farmers seem to be taking care of their tobacco as evidenced that there few reported cases of non-related tobacco substance being found in the tobacco bales at the markets,” the Minister noted.

He said the country has gained in foreign exchange earning saying the sales so far has fetched US$ 70.1 million since the opening of the market on April 9,2018.

Mwanamvekha said the foreign currency earning now stands at 66 per cent and hoped the trend would continue for the better.

“There not burning issues at the floors now as it is used to be in the past. Buyers are offering better process to the farmers and this is an encouragement to the tobaccos industry,” he stated.

He said the average price is perched at US$ 1.58 per kg which is far much better as it used to be in the past season where buyers were buying it at US$ 0.80

Mwanamvekha said since the sales are moving for lower to middle leaf chances are that the price might go up due to the quality of the leaf.

“The issues of reoffers stand at 18 per cent as results mix grading, non-tobacco related substances and high moisture content but we are hoping things will be better in this year’s marketing season and farmers will reap their benefit from the industry,” the Minister sounded.

He disclosed flue cured tobacco has fetched highest price of US$ 3 per kg and barley tobacco at US$ 2.60 per kg as high price on the current market.

Managing Director of Alliance one Limited and Tobacco Processor Association of Malawi, Hugh Saunders thanked government for showing interest to see how the industry is performing during the current marketing season

He said the industry is facing a lot of challenges citing the anti-smoking lobby which has affected the sector as 3,5 percent of the consumers have stopped smoking tobacco globally the market has been affected.

Lilongwe Auction floors buys on average 10,000 bales a day but on Friday they allowed 12,000 bales to be sold due to large volumes of tobacco bales being shipped in by farmers.

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