The price of tobacco in Malawi, the world’s largest producer of the burley variety of the leaf, traded 47 percent below the government’s recommended price of $1.80 a kilogram at the Limbe Auction Floors in the commercial capital, Blantyre yesterday.

The leaf sold at an average $0.95 a kilogram (2.2 pounds), with the highest price $1.35 and the lowest 55 cents, according to the bourse.

Since March 14, 84 million kilograms of tobacco have been sold for $88 million compared with $278.2 million from 139 million kilograms during the same period last year, according to the Tobacco Control Commission.

Tobacco accounts for 60 percent of all total foreign exchange earnings in the country.

Limbe Leaf Tobacco Co., a unit of Universal Corp., Alliance One Inc., Africa Leaf Malawi Ltd., Premium Tama Tobacco Ltd., Malawi Leaf Co., RWJ Wallace Ltd. and Japan Tobacco Inc. are some of the biggest buyers of tobacco in Malawi. They export the leaves to countries in Europe,Asia and North America.

To contact the reporter on this story: Frank Jomo in Blantyre via Johannesburg at [email protected]

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