Deputy Agriculture Minister Aggrey Massi on Monday toured the Lilongwe Auctions floors and was impressed by the prices the leaf was fetching with the highest leaf on the day fetching as high as $2.60.
The Minister started the tour with a visit to tobacco selling under auction before proceeding to check how the leaf was fairing under contract buying.
Speaking when he toured the JTI floor space, Massi said he was encouraged by the price tobacco was selling this year and hoped buyers will continue rewarding growers with better prices as the trend has been since the market opened in April.
“I am impressed with both the quality of tobacco on display and the price you are giving to growers. This is good, and please continue looking after these growers,” said Massi. The Deputy Minister went on to request that when the quality is good as is the case now buyers should pay their growers better in line with the quality of the leaf.
Speaking after the Deputy Minister had gone, JTI Leaf Malawi Corporate Affairs and Communication Director Harold Msusa said his company believes in rewarding quality and that was evidenced by the good prices the leaf was fetching.
“As we explained to the Deputy Minister, the quality of the leaf growers have produced this year is good. In addition, we explained to the Minister that we have recorded significant reduction in cases of Non-Tobacco Related Materials (NTRM) and this is reflected in this year’s good prices,” said Msusa.
Since its opening in April, the tobacco market has been a success and it has been characterised by high prices, a reduction in rejection rate and no disruption to sales as has been the case in the past.
Cumulatively, as of June 23, Malawi had earned $144.5 million from 74.8 million kilograms of tobacco selling at an average price of $1.93 per kilogram. During the same period last year, Malawi sold 69.5 million kilograms of leaves at an average price of $1.51 earning the country $104.6 million.