Malawi, one of the world’s largest tobacco producers, has realised a 36 percent increase in tobacco exports in first half period of this year, the country’s Tobacco Control Commission revealed.

“Data compiled by the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has shown that cumulative tobacco exports in the period from January to May this year were at $137.7 million.

“This is an increase from corresponding period last year when the country had exported the commodity for $87 million,” Tobacco Control Commission said in a statement.

Malawi is the world’s most tobacco-dependent economy. Its reliance has contributed to Malawi’s vulnerable economic position on the global level. Tobacco sales generate $165 million per year for Malawi, with tobacco making up 53 percent of southern African nation exports.

Malawi is also one of seven countries in the world that derive at least one percent of export earnings from tobacco. Burley leaf from Malawi makes up 6.6 percent of the world’s tobacco exports and accounts for over 70 percent of Malawi’s foreign earnings.

The country’s tobacco is produced in both large estates, concentrated in the central plateaus of the country, and in small landholdings throughout the country.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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