Malawi’s Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) and tobacco buyers have concluded talks on setting the minimum prices for the leaf this year, Nation Online has learnt.
TCC chief executive officer Dr. Bruce Munthali disclosed this last week when chairperson of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee of Parliament , David Luka, visited tobacco gardens in Lilongwe.
The visit was organised for the committee to appreciate how farmers have embraced the Integrated Production System (IPS) of growing tobacco.
“On our part, we have had successful discussions with buyers and we have forwarded whatever we have agreed to government so that government give its final verdict. We hope this year the prices will be good, taking into account how the crop outlook is in the field. The crop is impressive and, in most fields, each stem has between 18 and 25 big leaves,” said Munthali.
He said output this year is going to be more than last year and even though the assessment has not been concluded, physical checks in most fields show that the country will have high quantity and quality tobacco.
Luka said he was impressed with the quality of tobacco and advised buyers to offer better prices to the farmers.
“We have made visits to most areas where tobacco is grown and we are impressed with what we have seen. It is our hope that the quality of the crop in the field will translate into good prices at the floors,” he said.
One of the farmers , Jossamu Jackson, who is on IPS with Limbe Leaf said the crop this year has been good and he expects better prices than before.
“Limbe Leaf gave me seed, fertiliser and they will also give me some money which they will deduct after sales and I am happy with their loan conditions. I just hope that they will offer us good prices at the floors,” said Jackson.
Tobacco is the country’s number one forex earner contributing over 60 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and about 13 percent to the national economy.