President Mutharika on Monday officially opened the 2018 tobacco market season with a plea to tobacco buyers to offer better prices.
Speaking at Kanengo Auction Floors in Lilongwe, Mutharika said his government expects a better tobacco selling season.
“My government is looking forward to a better and rewarding tobacco selling season, however for the season to witness improved sells, local and international buyers have to consider providing our farmers with good prices to bail them out of huge costs incurred during production,” Mutharika said.
The Malawi leader also said that despite tobacco being the country’s cash and strategic crop, time has come for the country to look into new ways of processing the leaf within the country in order to keep the country’s economy buoyant.
Mutharika has also cautioned farmers against selling their tobacco to illicit vendors and including debris in their tobacco bales.
“Let me warn farmers against selling their crop to vendors, they also need to avoid including non-tobacco materials into bales to avoid high rejection rate and market disruption,” he said
Also speaking during the event, Tobacco Control Commission, Board Chairperson, Inkosi yamakosi Mbelwa the 5th said his commission is anticipating for great season than ever.
“The reduction in tobacco output which is below 171 volumes demanded by international buyers is a blessing in disguise as the 147 million kilograms the country has produced which represents 24 million kilograms shortfall will help the country to make good sales as supply will beat the demand, ” he said.
Mbelwa has also hailed the president for opening the Magnificent Tobacco Control Commission office complex saying the structure will create a comfortable environment for people working under the institution.
Last year, tobacco which remains the country’s economic mainstay yielded the country $212 million and this year government and stakeholders are upbeat on higher income.