LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s green gold regulatory body, Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) says is banking on the yet to be passed legal framework, Tobacco Act that will sorely address challenges affecting the sector.
The need for the new law comes amid numerous hiccups the sector is facing including global decline in cigarette consumption at 2-3 %, general drop in burley demand and increased technology responses to anti smoking campaigns.
The Act is poised to address the growth of Illicit Trade of about 10% of the market share, responding to customer dictates and adopting public health approach toward alternatives among others.
The tobacco regulatory body was addressing Media Network on Tobacco (MNT) this week on the prospects achievements of 2017 marketing season.
The commission observed despite the sector facing a number of setbacks Malawi cannot do away completely with tobacco.
TCC Acting Chief Executive Officer, David Luka disclosed the new tobacco law which is expected to be tabled in the next seating of Parliament will completely give a life changer towards the management of the sector.
Luka therefore lauded the media for the role played this year on various reforms the commission is championing including the introduction quota allocation to farmers.
“The future for tobacco remains unpredictable but will live on it as it gives us much needed forex towards national budget implementation. The new Act will put to rest some minor challenges affecting the industry including illicit trade that is at 10%.
“The media therefore must continue portraying good image of the industry through positive reporting that attracts many foreign buyers. The commission will work closely with the media to fight setbacks for the growth of the sector,” said Luka.
MNT President Alfred Chauwa challenged the commission with the need for capacity building on international protocols Malawi signed for objective and insightful reporting.
Chauwa vowed on the network passion in advancing the sector agenda to trickle down economic fortunes particularly on rural farmers.
The country’s final consolidated figures for this year’s tobacco earnings have been pegged at US$212 million, it has been learnt.
This is the summing gross collection statistics released by regulatory body 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.
Currently, the commission is registering farmer for 2018 quota growing season which runs from June 26 to September 30, 2017 with a few of a license fees at MK6.10 per Kg)