The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has forecast the cropâ€™s output of 160 million kilogrammes (kg) in 2013, a 102 percent jump from last yearâ€™s 79 million kg, according to chief executive officer Dr Bruce Munthali.
But Munthali told Business News on Tuesday the final output may change either way as the time progresses.
Last yearâ€™s output was one of the lowest in recent times from a record 232 million kg in 2011, a year the market season experienced a number of disruptions due to farmersâ€™ complaints over lower than expected prices.
Munthali attributed the expected surge in output to a large number of farmers who have registered to grow the crop due to good prices that prevailed soon after the kwacha was devalued by nearly 50 percent and subsequently floated.
So far, he said, TCC has registered more than 80 000 farmers from 65 000 last year.
Munthali also cited the excitement farmers have shown towards contract growing as part of the Integrated Production System (IPS), a concept which intends to integrate tobacco buyers and ordinary growers and the increase of tobacco seed sales from the Agriculture Research and Extension Trust (Aret).
â€œFarmers must have also been compelled because there are some crops which didnâ€™t do well last year; hence, the switch,â€ he said.
But Munthali said the TCC will also be regulating the growing of the crop, which wires in 60 percent of foreign exchange earnings, employs millions of Malawians and account for 13 percent to national economy, based on the land size.
In 2011, TCC reintroduced quotas to check output to match the crop size with the allocated land to manage tobacco production as a way of balancing the reduction of further erosion to farmersâ€™ income and profitability in line with global trade requirements.
Earlier, Munthali indicated that international buyers want 200 million kg of Malawi tobacco, but yesterday he said the figure will also likely change.
â€œThis [the determination of global requirements] is a continuous process and we have asked the buyers to submit their revised trade requirements,â€ he said, who could not forecast how the price would be like arguing it is difficult to do so now.
This year, tobacco raked in $177 million, a 40 percent drop from last yearâ€™s $293 million.