Tobacco Estimates Down by 10% Against Market Demand in 2021
The first round of tobacco production estimates for this year has shown a 10 percent drop against the demand from buyers this growing season.
According to statistics from Tobacco Commission (TC), tobacco estimates show that the country will produce 120 million kilograms of all types of tobacco against the demand of 132 million kilograms.
TC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Joseph Chidanti Malunga has attributed the output drop to a loss of interest in farmers to grow the green gold this year.
“After the exercise that gave a picture as to how much in volume the country would produce tobacco this year, our findings show that the country is expected to produce 120 million kilograms of all types of tobacco against market demand of 132 million kilograms. The downward drop is due to a large loss of interest by growers in the country. Despite a decline in volumes, we are still upbeat of quality because as a country we have had good rains this far,” said Chidanti Malunga.
Economic expert, Millward Tobias says it is high time the country thought of replacing tobacco with a substitute crop that would rake in enough revenues to cater for import cover for the whole year.
“Tobacco is a dying crop. From the estimations given by TC, if we have a better price, let's say an average of 2 US dollars, we will realize about 200 million dollars which can only cater for a month of import cover. That is worrying and we need to find a substitute for tobacco in the soonest possible time,” said Tobias.
In the 2019/2020 farming season, Malawi sold 113 million kilograms of all types of tobacco realizing 174 million US dollars (approximately 130 billion kwacha) which economic experts said would only cater for 1 month of import cover.
Tobacco remains the country’s main forex earner.