Sales of tobacco at Limbe Auction Floors, which were disrupted on Wednesday, barely 30 minutes after the official opening, resumed yesterday after growers’ misunderstandings on price structure were sorted out, the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has said.
TCC chief executive officer Bruce Munthali told The Nation yesterday that the sales went on smoothly and the situation was calm as compared to Wednesday with the highest price recorded at $2.15 (K857) per kilogramme.
“It was just a question of growers not understanding the minimum price structure. That has been sorted out and the market progressed very well,” he said, adding the leaf was sold on both the auction and contract systems.
Munthali said the rejection rate at Limbe has gone down to 12 percent which is within the normal rate of between zero to 25 percent.
He said the buyers generally expressed concern on the quality of the leaf at Limbe which was mouldy, wet and shrivelled.
Four days after the markets of Lilongwe, Chinkhoma in Kasungu and Limbe opened, the participation of the buyers is still not impressive, according to Munthali, who said buyers have different quality styles; hence their participation being limited.
Munthali said the sales season has generally started well and the markets are stabilising, arguing that growers had high expectation of good prices, particularly because this is an election year.
On Wednesday, growers halted sales of the leaf at Limbe, protesting over lower prices.
It happened just 30 minutes after Deputy Minister of Agriculture Binton Kutsaira officially opened the market.
The government sanctioned minimum prices for both contract and auction have this year been set at $1.76 (K702) per kg from last year’s $1.69 (K674) per kg for burley, $2.65 per (K1 057) kg from $2.63 9 (K1 049) per kg for flue cured and $2.10 (K837) per kg from $1.80 (K718) per kg for dark fired tobacco.