Tobacco Revenue Drop by 27 Percent This Year-TC
Initial estimates by the Tobacco Commission indicated that the country would produce 155 million kilograms of tobacco against a market demand of 161 million kilograms.
But by the end of week 19 of tobacco sales which marked the closure of the marketing season for Malawi’s green gold, records showed that the quantity presented to the market was 113 million kilograms which is far below 165.6 million kilograms traded during the similar period last season.
Revenue realized has also dropped by 32 percent in the year under review to 174 million dollars from 237 million dollars realized within the same period.
TC Chief Executive Officer Kaisi Sadala says the decline in both revenue and volume is due to change in weather patterns.
“Overall performance of the market this year has been quite good despite a few challenges we have faced. In this coming season, we will improve where we did not do well.” Said Sadala.
In addition to low volumes produced for the 2020 season, TAMA Trust Chief Executive Officer Nixon Lita has decried an increase in rejection rate and petitioned farmers to improve on the quality to avoid experiencing the same next year.
“We will urge our farmers to work on improving on the quality of the leaf to avoid high rejection rate next year,” said Lita
Meanwhile, an economic expert, Professor Ben Kalua says it high time the country thought of replacing tobacco with another crop like industrial hemp.
“Its high time as a country we started exploring other alternatives like industrial hemp which in other countries is doing well,” said Kalua
Tobacco remains the country’s main forex earner.