The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has called on buyers to ensure that they offer good prices to growers.
The ministry’s Principal Secretary Erica Maganga said this on Wednesday in Lilongwe during the opening of the 2017 Tobacco Industry Stakeholders’ Meeting.
Against the backdrop of an expected 36 percent drop in tobacco output, according to the first round crop estimates, industry players expect prices to be better than last year if demand and supply principle comes into the equation.
“Although we develop minimum tobacco prices every year, I still have reservations on the sustainability of the pricing mechanism. I, therefore, appeal to all stakeholders gathered here to ensure that we have a sustainable pricing system that balances both the farmers’ and buyers’ interests,” said Maganga.
Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) acting chief executive David Luka expressed optimism about good prices this year.
“It seems overall farmers will not meet the demand by buyers and this means there will be a scramble for tobacco among buyers and definitely if we apply the principle of demand and supply, prices should be better this season,” he said.
Buyers’ demand for tobacco—the country’s main foreign exchange earner which brings in about 60 percent of the country’s forex earnings—has dropped to 150 million kg from last year’s 158 million kg.