Tobacco growers have predicted that earnings from the country’s tobacco might decline this year compared to the last growing season, if prices remain unstable on the market.
Tobacco Association of Malawi (TAMA) Executive Director Graham Kunimba said most farmers are likely to record losses from tobacco sales due to fluctuation of kwacha.
“Going by the trends, volume of the leaf is higher than last year, but earnings from the higher volumes would be lower than what we made last year with lower volumes traded,” he said.
According to Kunimba tobacco will continue to fetch low prices on the market comparing to other countries.
“We are concerned with the monitory regime. Mostly we invest more at a time the currency has depreciated and sales start by the time the currency is appreciating.”
Agriculture Minister Allan Chiyembekeza said government expects improvement in prices on the market.
“We know farmers continue to complain on the tobacco prices. Therefore, my call on buyers have to treat the farmers with regard considering all the effort,” he said.
By end of week 17 according to Dr Munthali, the country has so far earned $ 263 million, as compared to $ 269 million earned during the same period last year, representing a 2 percent drop.
On volume, the country had traded about 144 million kilograms compared to 128 kilograms traded during the same period last year. This represents a 12 percent increase.
TCC says the market is projected to close next month “given the inflow of tobacco into the major markets”.
Tobacco remains Malawi’s major forex earner.