Despite this year’s poor tobacco prices that have contributed to the country’s worsening economic woes, the market season has registered the largest tobacco volumes sold than ever, the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has said.
As of last week, the market had sold just over 235 million kilogrammes of both burley and flu-cured tobacco, beating the 2009 record of 232 million at the end of that year’s market season.
“We have sold more tobacco than ever but our objective is to match the leaf sales with proceeds because you can note that despite selling more tobacco we have had very poor prices,” said TCC Chief Executive Officer Bruce Munthali in an interview.
A presidential directive was issued last month that all tobacco brought to the auction floors this year should be bought either by the buyers or the government.
About US$291 million has been realised from the sales of tobacco and cheapest Chesterfield cigarettes through the auction floors this year, compared to US$410 million realised from sales of the leaf last year.
Tama president Robert Maigwa was quoted on ZBS bemoaning this year’s sales which he said are the worst in recent years and have affected farmers’ incomes considerably.
He said the country should expect low tobacco volumes next year as most of the disappointed farmers have kept away from planting tobacco this growing season.