The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC), which has set August 29 as the closing date for the 2014 tobacco marketing season, has described this year as successful, considering that there were no major disruptions.
TCC chief executive officer Bruce Munthali told Business News in Lilongwe on Friday that the regulatory body has proposed August 8 as the closing date for Chinkhoma Auction Floors in Kasungu, August 15 for Limbe Auction Floors, Lilongwe Auction Floors is set for closure on August 22 and finally at Mzuzu Auction Floors, the market is expected to close on August 29.
The market first opened at Lilongwe Auction Floors on March 24, followed by Chinkhoma on March 25 and thereafter Limbe and Mzuzu on 26 March and 23 April respectively.
Asked to summarise the market performance, Munthali said it was successful due to peace and calm that prevailed.
He said the fast movement of the market has led to its early closure, saying under normal circumstances, the lead time for closing the market is September.
Said Munthali: “The market has been very successful with literally no major stoppages and no major disagreements between growers and buyers which is a very positive development in the marketing of tobacco.”
He said the rejection rate also declined to as low as 10 percent for both contract and auction sales.
Munthali also cited increased capacity building programmes at farmer level that has necessitated low prevalence of Non-Tobacco Related Material (NTRM) as one positive stride during the 2014 marketing season.
He also mentioned significant reduction in illegal cross-border trading as one other major success of the tobacco marketing in the year.
After 18 weeks of tobacco sales, a total of 157 million kilogrammes of tobacco was sold at $290.3 million.
Last year, Malawi earned about $362 million from the country’s number one foreign currency earner, a figure which was almost double the $177 million earned in the prior year.