LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) says results of the first round of crop [tobacco] assessment will be ready by end of January.

Stakeholders met last Tuesday to map the approach to the crop assessment expected to commence this week.
Figures from TCC show that 41,784 farmers had registered to grow the leaf as of early December, with a total registered quota of 162 million kilogrammes.

The figure is likely to rise as, at the time of registration, the commission had run out of farmers’ registration cards, which are now being cleared in some parts of the Southern Region.

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

TCC Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala, said there would, however, not be much change on the quality of the estimated tobacco to be produced this year.

“The expectation is that, by the end of this month, we should have the results. We are sure that what we licensed is in line with the international demand such that we should be able to control the market trends,” Sadala said.

Sadala however warned that farmers who are growing the leaf but did not register with the commission may find it difficult to sell their crop through the action floors.

Earlier, some stakeholders said the output this year may not be satisfactory, if the dry spell that has hit some tobacco growing regions may persist.

“It is a matter of concern but we are hopeful and we keep praying that the rains will resume this week. We are getting reports that, in some areas, the crop has started to wither,” Sadala said.

Tobacco Association of Malawi Chief Executive Officer, Matthews Zulu however said the association is also assessing the situation “to give a true reflection on the ground.”

While expressing optimism that the rainfall pattern may improve in the shortest time possible, Zulu said the current situation paints a gloomy picture of the output this season.

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 $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 $226 million from a total volume of 175 million kilograms.

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