The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has said about 4 000 bales of tobacco, which were not bought during last year’s market season, will be offered for clearance sale later this month.
Last year’s market season was beset with many challenges.
These include poor quality leaf, high rejection rates and lower prices especially on auction market system, a situation which led to market disruptions and a prolonged selling season.
AHL Group corporate affairs manager Mark Ndipita confirmed that they cleared most of the tobacco.
He said: “The clearance sale is going to take place at the Lilongwe Floors only because all the tobacco in other floors such as Limbe, Chinkhoma and Mzuzu was bought. What is remaining are 4 000 bales and on a date to be announced by TCC, the tobacco will be sold.
“We are optimistic that we will clear the market in one day because 4 000 bales is not too much.”
TCC chief executive officer Albert Changaya confirmed in a separate interview on Monday that the clearance sale will take place next week.
He said TCC officials are asking all farmers organisations to ensure that no tobacco is remaining in the field.
“It is true that there may be about 4 000 bales remaining with farmers and we are optimistic that the clearance sale will help us clear all the tobacco remaining on the market.
“Our officials are discussing with AHL Group so that a date can be set for the clearance sale,” said Changaya.
Last year’s marketing season came amid a 33 percent supply glut of the leaf against a demand of 158.1 million kilogrammes (kg), according to first round crop estimates which were released last February.
The estimates had put production at 211 million kg.
In 2015, Malawi produced 192 million kg of tobacco, which earned the country $337.4 million (about K216.8 billion).
According to statistics from AHL Group, at the close of the marketing season last year, the crop raked in $275.8 million (K201 billion) after 194.6 million kg were sold in the country’s four floors at an average price of $1.42 (K1 036) per kg.
Tobacco is Malawi’s main export crop, contributing about 60 percent of foreign exchange earnings and 13 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP). n