Tobacco Association of Malawi (TAMA) on Thursday expressed disappointment on the quality of leaf that has been brought on the market which has seen the country realizing less money from this year’s tobacco selling season.
TAMA was reacting to the K 78.9 million that the country has realized from this year’s tobacco marketing season.
TAMA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Matthews Sudo, told Malawi News Agency that if farmers had presented good quality leaf at the floor, average price could have been higher and the country could have made more money.
“We are requesting farmers to do all the grading because we have noticed that some growers are bringing leaf which is not well graded. As of now, the non-tobacco related materials incidents are there but not so many. Those cases mainly appear when the tobacco is being processed.
“Those farmers who are bringing good quality leaf are getting better prices. Those who compromise quality, the tobacco price are a bit less. We have minimum prices but it is pleasing that sometimes buyers are buying on average 10 cents above the minimum prices,” he stated.
Sudo said that the tobacco market this season is progressing very well.
The CEO divulged that they are discussing with buyers on issue of prices and as TAMA, we feel the buyers could do better than what they are paying now looking at the quality of some leaves that is brought at the market.
On their part Auction Holdings Limited (AHL) says the tobacco market this season is performing well as compared to last year and there is expectation that many tobacco farmers in the country will benefit from this year’s tobacco selling season.
AHL’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mark Ndipita said that since the opening of this year’s tobacco marketing season some six weeks ago, 49 million Kilogrammes (kg) of tobacco has been sold as compared to last year during the same period where only 27 million kgs of tobacco was sold last year.
According to Ndipita, the rise in the figures of kilogrammes of tobacco is an indication and hope that tobacco farmers and the country would benefit from this year’s tobacco marketing season.
“Tobacco selling season this year is performing well as each and every week, prices of tobacco are going up as compared to last year. The tobacco is being sold at an average price of one dollar fifty nine cents,” he said.
Beginning next week, Tobacco Control Commission in partnership with TAMA will organize summer meetings across the country for farmers to give them proper communication on how best they can improve in presenting good quality leaf.