Some tobacco farmers in the Northern Region have said the dry spell that hit two weeks ago has affected the crop and are worry this year’s yield could drop.
In an interview on Tuesday on the sidelines of an Agricultural Research Extension Trust(Aret) field day at Kabwafu in Mzimba, Senior Chief Mpherembe, who is also a tobacco grower, said most farmers have a stunted crop.
“The region has been receiving erratic rains which in a way affected the crop. But now it is picking up and we have hope, but the crop will not be as good as expected because of the erratic rains we experienced” he said.
Another tobacco grower in the region, Harry Mkandawire, who is also parliamentarian for Mzimba West, said the crop situation is still not good for most growers.
“Imagine, some growers have just finished applying the second lot of fertiliser last week,” he said.
Mkandawire said although the crop has been affected, the quality of the leaf is good.
While the North has been affected by erratic trains, Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) acting chief executive officer Lemmy Chitawo said the country will produce a quality crop as most parts of the country received good rains.
According to the 2016/17 Agricultural Production Estimates Survey(Apes) first round estimates, the country will produce 36 percent increase in farm produce as compared to last year.
However, the production for tobacco, Malawi’s main foreign exchange earner, will decrease by 36.6 percent.