Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) optimistic of better tobacco volumes

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The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) is optimistic of better tobacco volumes for next year because of the increased number of growers who have registered to grow the crop.

Initial estimates show that Malawi could produce as a much 160 million kilogrammes of tobacco in 2013, a big improvement from 79 million kgs realised this year.

TCC Spokesperson Juliana Chidumu said yesterday, however, that good weather pattern during the season is also key to deciding the amount of crop Malawi will get come April 2013.

She said there is a lot of enthusiasm on the part of farmers to grow the crop this year, buoyed by appetising prices buyers offered last season.

“As you are aware, most farmers did not grow the crop this year resulting in intense competition among buyers on the market. This ended up in the tobacco that was there fetching good prices,” said Chidumu.

She said this season, many growers have been attracted into growing the crop and the commission was optimistic of the country attaining improved production of the crop, subject to good rains.

“It is our prayer that we have a better growing season,” said Chidumu.

To avoid plunging prices in the wake of an anticipated supply surge, TCC has from this year introduced a new system where 80 percent of the crop will be sold on contract with the remaining 20 percent sold on auction.

This year, Malawi produced 79 kilogrammes of the green gold down from a record 232 million kgs produced in 2011.

TCC Chief Executive Officer Bruce Munthali recently expressed optimism that tobacco output will help the economic recovery efforts of the country as the volumes are expected to be adequate enough to boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

With the country’s foreign exchange reserves almost depleted, Malawi’s monetary authorities are keeping fingers crossed that tobacco brings enough dollars.

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