The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) on Friday summoned all tobacco buyers who are participating in the buying of tobacco at the auction floors over relatively low prices fetching the leaf since the market opened in March this year.
TCC chief executive officer Bruce Munthali confirmed the summoning in an interview yesterday saying the summoning was done on a ‘one on one’ basis.
Munthali said although the prices on the market are good, TCC believes the merchants can do better hence the summoning.
Said Munthali: “We need prices to improve. We want farmers to get good value and return from their production.”
He said some of the buyers’ senior management representatives who appeared at TCC following the summon were from Limbe Leaf, Alliance One, JTI, Premium Tama, Malawi Leaf, Associate Tobacco Company.
Quizzed on how some of the summoned buyers have responded after the summon, Munthali said most of them have agreed to offer incremental above minimum prices on good quality tobacco.
He said TCC will continue to ensure that there is harmony among growers and buyers during the rest of the marketing season.
Commenting on the market conduct, Munthali said so far burley tobacco sales have improved by 70 percent from an average price of $1.14 in March now to $1.88.
He said the first 12 weeks of marketing has seen the country earning $151 million, which he said was a slight increase from an aggregate of $150 million realised during the same period last year.
Last year, Malawi earned about $362 million from tobacco at auction level, an improvement from $177 million realised in the year 2012.
“We see that auction prices are picking up and sometimes surpassing contract prices,” he added.