AHL Tobacco Sales Limited has asked tobacco farmers in Rumphi to diversify to other crops such as legumes.
AHL Tobacco Sales Limited, a subsidiary of AHL Group Limited, formerly Auction Holdings Limited, made the call during a field day it organised at Mhuju in the district to update farmers on how tobacco sales fared last year.
Mzuzu Auction Floors manager Happy Chifungwe said the tobacco industry is experiencing challenges amid anti-smoking campaign.
He said grain and legumes such as pigeon peas, soya, groundnuts, sunflower, cow peas, beans and rice have markets and can provide income just like tobacco.
“Of course, tobacco remains Malawi’s main cash crop, but it is experiencing challenges on the market. So, we encourage farmers to reduce production and cultivate other crops,” said Chifungwe.
Petros Mhango, a grower, bemoaned low prices the leaf is fetching on the market.
“The returns from tobacco sales are so meagre that we cannot support our families.
“Besides, some of my bales were rejected at the auction floors. I think it is now time to grow other crops,” he said.
Traditional Authority Mwahenga acknowledged the tip to concentrate on other crops.
“We have taken the advice. We will ensure that we grow less tobacco and more legumes this growing season,” he said.