Revenue from tobacco, the country’s top forex earner, has hit $203.8 million (about K148 billion) after 19 weeks of tobacco sales.
This is 30 percent drop in earnings when compared to $296.1 million realised the same period last year.
Figures from AHL indicate that the country the country has so far sold 129. 6 million kilogrammes (kg) of tobacco of all types at an average price of $1.57 (about K1 120 per kg compared to 165.7 million kg sold during the same period last year at an average price of $1.79 (about K1 278 per kg).
In terms of volumes, there is a decrease of 22 percent of tobacco sold so far.
In an interview on Monday, AHL group corporate affairs manager Mark Ndipita attributed the decrease in revenue realised and volumes sold if we compare to last year to low prices, high no-sale rejection rates and reduced competition on the auction system which has come into being because of overproduction.
“The development has also been brought in because of the non-funded category of tobacco farmers [about 45 percent] who were just listed by merchants to sale on contract even though no support was rendered in terms of inputs, extension advice and loans,” he said.
Ndipita said to bring back competition on the market, there is need to abolish the non-funded category of tobacco farmers.
The AHL spokesperson said this season Malawi has experienced high rejection rates of up to 98 percent.
In an earlier interview, Famers Union of Malawi (FUM) president Alfred Kapichira-Banda faulted the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) for the continued reduced demand of the country’s main forex earner, calling for the need for the authorities to start looking for other markets if Malawian grower is to have hope in the sector.
This year, buyers’ demand for the leaf was pegged at 171.1 million kg, down from last year’s 178.2 million kg.