Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) says the number of registered tobacco growers in the 2013 tobacco growing season has more than doubled over last year.
TCC chief executive officer Dr. Bruce Munthali said this week that by October 2012, it registered 24 193 growers against 10 660 last year.
Â â€œWe have seen an increase in all types of tobacco, but much of the increase is seen in burley and flue-cured tobacco,â€ said Munthali.
Â He attributed the development to the relative improvement in prices this year following the devaluation of the kwacha.
Â Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) governor Charles Chuka said when the central bank devalued the local unit, existing exporters, including sellers of tobacco at the auction floors, should benefit from the devaluation through increased earnings.
Munthali, therefore, called upon growers to manage their nurseries well to secure better prices next year.
Â â€œFarmers have to seriously look at timely transplanting into the field, timely fertiliser acquisition and we believe that microfinance institutions and all financial sector players will support our farmers,â€ added Munthali.
Â Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Professor Peter Mwanza expressed optimism in an interview with Business News last month that the tobacco market is bound to be buoyant next year following the adoption of a new system of growing tobacco, the Integrated Tobacco Production System (IPS).
Mwanza also said under the IPS system, farmers will be helped to access bank loans through the sponsored crops which in a way intergrates farmers to the trade requirements.
Â He said the new system will eliminate speculative tobacco production which, he said, has often resulted in uncontrolled crop size.
Â Added Mwanza: â€œFarmers are clever people. They grow little tobacco [the following year] if they see that tobacco income is less that year, but I can assure you that we have registered a larger number of growers this year.â€