This year’s tobacco marketing season opens tomorrow at Kanengo Auction Floors in Lilongwe where about 15 000 tobacco bales are up for sale.
This year’s marketing season comes amid overproduction by 33 percent against the demand of 158.1 million kilogrammes (kg), according to first round crop estimates which were released in February. The estimates had put production at 211 million kg.
In an interview yesterday, Tobacco Control Commision (TCC) chief executive officer Albert Changaya said President Peter Mutharika will officially open the marketing season of the crop touted as a major foreign exchange earner for the economy.
He said nine buyers will compete for the leaf.
However, this year’s marketing season has come at a period when some parts of the country are receiving heavy rains with the Northern Region being the most affected.
The severe weather in the region has affected the delivery of tobacco to Mzuzu Auction Floors which currently has only 35 bales ahead of its opening on April 20.
TCC’s regional manager (Central) Richard Chinthunzi said Chinkhoma market in n
Limbe has 1 753 bales.Kasungu has 6 549 bales while
He said transporting of tobacco to the floors has been affected because of the rains as some roads are now impassable.
Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) chief executive officer Graham Kunimba said the quality of the leaf will be compromised as it might retain high moisture content which puts off buyers.
He said: “Due to the rains, the leaf might also have some water stains, which compromises the quality further.”
Last year, Malawi produced 192 million kg which earned $337.4 million. n