Earnings from tobacco, the country’s main cash crop that contributes about 60 percent to foreign exchange earnings, have so far jumped 48 percent above last year.
AHL Group figures published yesterday show that in 20 weeks of sales, with 184 million kilogrammes (kg) of the leaf sold, the country has earned $314 million (about K230 billion) at an average price of $1.71 (about K1 253) per kg.
In contrast, $212.5 million (about K155 billion) was raised during the same period last year out of 106.6 million kg of tobacco sold at an average price of $1.99 (about K14 58) per kg.
This shows that despite the earnings this year being more than last year, they have largely benefited from output and not prices.
“Strong competition on dark fired auction sales had a positive ripple effect on dark fired average prices as shown by the positive variance,” reads the report in part.
AHL Group communications manager Thom Khanje is on record as having said they are impressed with this year’s tobacco marketing season despite a few hiccups.
“There has been no interruption on sales to date and rejections have been within reasonable rates,” he said.
Chinkhoma in Kasungu closed last Thursday, Limbe Floors closed yesterday, Lilongwe Floors will close this Friday while Mzuzu Floors will wind up business on September 11, marking the end of a marketing season that has largely been smooth.
In an earlier interview, Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) chief executive officer Kayisi Sadala said growers and the country are assured of good returns. n