BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-Tobacco farmers are said to be happy with the recently opened green-gold sales at Limbe Auction Floors in Blantyre ; this is because of the good prices offered, and low rejection rates.
This comes one day after the auction floors opened on Tuesday; it is on the heels of the Lilongwe and Chinkhoma auction floors, which started this year’s marketing season a week ago.
Sale sheets which The Maravi Post sourced from farmers, show that prices range from 80 cents (MK586) per kilongram (kg) to US$2.20 (MK1, 612.06) per kg.
These prices are different compared with those offered last year’s opening day. Last year the tobacco was pegged between 80 cents and US$1.40 (MK1, 026.02).
The rejection rate this year has started on 1.8 percent, while in 2016 during the same time, it was at 52 percent. Therefore, tobacco sales have started on the high level, with the expectation that farmers will keep on smiling all the way to the end of the season.
Farmer Patrick Mwalabu, who hails from Phalombe, expressed happiness over the prices offered at the floors, and said he hopes this year will fetch more money than last year to meet his family’s needs, and pay back inputs loans.
The current state of prices offered and low rejection rate, also greatly pleased both the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC), and Auction Holdings Ltd. Group (AHL).
They attributed the better prices and low rejection rates, to proper handing and presentation of the leaf, before reaching the floors. They said all farmers must emulate this great start to the tobacco season.
In 2016, a total of 194 million kgs 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 that was sold in 2015.