A delegation from the Iranian Tobacco Company (ITC) in the Islamic Republic of Iran is scheduled to arrive in Malawi early November to discuss with local tobacco industry players the possibility of buying Malawi tobacco.
Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) chief executive officer Bruce Munthali said in an interview yesterday that the officials from ITC, which boasts of decades of producing cigarettes compatible with the tastes of different categories of consumers, are expected to arrive on November 10, before proceeding into discussions with tobacco buyers and government officials, among others.
The visit by the ITC officials follows a visit by Malawi government officials in Tehran, Iran, led by Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza where he met the company’s managing director Masoum Najafian and assured him that Malawi intends to supply tobacco to Iran.
ITC hinges on its three objectives of expanding its cigarette exports, value addition and production of less harmful products to satisfy its consumers and gain a suitable share in the global cigarette market, according to an Internet search.
“When we were in Iran, we negotiated for purchase volumes of tobacco which were pegged at 500 to 1 000 tonnes of tobacco and we also presented to them that they need to put a cigarette plant here in Malawi,” said Munthali.
He said the visit by ITC officials will accord tobacco buyers an opportunity to discuss with the company issues of tobacco purchase as well as tobacco processing.
Munthali added: “We are looking forward to this visit as a country and we have a lot of expectations because any customer, whether small or big is important.”
He said TCC and other tobacco players will try to lobby ITC on the possibility of the Iran firm to establish a tobacco buying company in Malawi.
Generally, Munthali said the industry envisages 150 million kilogrammes (kg) burley as the trade requirement for the crop next year, adding that a large portion of it is under contract arrangement while 25 to 30 million kg will be volumes for burley auction.
The ITC boss was recently quoted by the Islamic News Agency as saying his company is obliged to meet domestic demand for tobacco through purchasing from home and foreign companies.
The company has seven production lines and currently produces its products in Tehran and Gilan in Iran.
Last year, the company produced over 19 billion cigarettes and is expected to scale up the figure this year.