LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) says the first round of crop [tobacco] assessment has been reduced by 12.8 percent below trade requirement.

This is against tobacco buyers’ need of 171 million kilogram for 2018 marketing season for the all kinds of tobacco.

The reduction has been necessitated by the prolonged dry spells affecting some districts in the southern and central region.

But the commission is opportunistic that product might increase following resumption of rainfall pouring across the nation.

Addressing Media Network on Tobacco (MNT) on Wednesday in the capital Lilongwe, TCC Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala disclosed that the green gold production currently was promising for higher production.

Sadala added that it was the wish of the commission for farmers to meet this year’s volume demand from buyers.

The TCC Chief reveals that the commission will undertake the second round estimates in weeks to come which will assist in determining the opening dates for the the market.

He therefore lauded the media tobacco body for working closely with the commission in providing correct information to public about the crop.

“Despite the first round of crop estimates showing low tobacco product, we expect the second estimates will have increase in production as most parts of the country are currently enjoying good rains.

“We are also impressed with farmers abiding to quota system tobacco requirement. This will help to reduce over production that affects the prices,” lauded Sadala.

MNT President Alfred Chauwa assured the commission of the network members total support in advancing tobacco industry agendas.

Chauwa however called upon TCC to promote value addition on tobacco and good regulatory standards by encouraging local processing for job opportunities.

“TCC should promote also the use of live barn locally known as Chigafa Chamoyo to address further deforestation and adopting new technologies of curing tobacco,” urges Chauwa

Figures from TCC show that 42,303 farmers had registered to grow the leaf for 2017/2018 against 45,000 growers in 2016/2017 marketing season with a total registered quota of 169,785,243 million kilogrammes.

The registered quota is still lower than the 2018 buyer demand of 171 million kilogrammes.

Tobacco remains the country’s forex earner towards the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) towards national financial year plan.

However, the country’s final consolidated figures for 2017 tobacco earnings pegged at US$212 million

This is the summing gross collection statistics released by regulatory body, Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) saying the earnings surpass last year’s by 23 percent.

In 2016, a total of 194 million kilograms of tobacco was sold at an average of US$1.42 per kg in which the country realized US275 million.

This was a drop from US$362 million of 168 million kg of tobacco sold in 2015 whilst this year 107 million kilograms went through the auction. This represents a 45 percent increase in terms of volumes sold.

According TCC the average price for this year was US$1.99 which was better as compared to last year’s US$1.41 per kilogram.

The commission said from the US$212 million, flue cured tobacco contributed US$61 million, 19 percent up against last year’s US$45 million.

Burley tobacco fetched US$144 million from 81 million kilograms as compared to last year’s earnings of US$226 million from a total volume of 175 million kilograms

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