Mzuzu Floors opened the 2017 Tobacco Marketing Season yesterday on a high note with flue-cured tobacco fetching as high as $4:35 per kilogramme and burley hitting $2:20 per kilogramme.
The Mzuzu Floors have opened a month after the official opening of the 2017 Tobacco Marketing Season which was opened by President Peter Mutharika in Lilongwe.
Speaking in an interview on the side-lines of the Mzuzu Tobacco Floors opening ceremony AHL Group general manager responsible for tobacco sales, Moses Yakobe, said there is a 35 percent increase in prices as compared to last year.
He said the overall average for 22 days has jumped from $1.30 last year to $1:76 as of Tuesday. However, there is a drop in tobacco quantity sold at the floors country-wide compared to same time last year.
“The drop in the kilogrammes of the tobacco sold is due to the late opening of the Mzuzu Floors which last year was opened in April, a week after the other official opening,” said Yakobe.
He said the rejection rate is less than 22 percent compared to last year’s 78 percent during the same period.
One of the farmers, group village head (GVH) Kapatafinye from Rumphi District, who sold eight bales on the opening day, was hopeful that prices will continue to soar.
“We hope that this good start will continue up to the closing of the market,” said Kapatafinye.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Aggrey Masi commended farmers for producing quality leaf this year as compared to previous years.
“With this type of tobacco, prices will definitely improve and we will soon be competing against Brazil,” said Masi. n