Some Chinese companies are ready to come to Malawi to invest in flue cured tobacco growing to meet the growing demand for the leaf in China, Ambassador Pan Hejun has said.
Malawi is the worldâ€™s leading grower of burley tobacco, but that status is not paying off in terms of exports to China because the Chinese smokers do not like the burley flavour.
â€œEvery year, Chinese companies come to Malawi to buy tobacco. They want to buy more, but not burley tobacco. That is why some companies are considering investing in flue cured production in Malawi,â€ the ambassador said in an interview at his residence last Friday.
China is becoming increasingly Malawiâ€™s leading export market for agriculture products.
Last year, Malawi exported $46 million of tobacco, coffee, spices and other agriculture goods but sadly, the country imported $112 million of textiles, machinery and high tech goods from China, a worrying trade iBut Pan said Malawi has the potential to boost its exports to China and cautioned Malawi on its over reliance on tobacco, saying the demand for tobacco is slowing down.
â€œThe future of tobacco is not bright in 10 to 20 years time so, Malawi needs to grow more tea and cotton because demand is there in China,â€ he said.