As this year’s tobacco selling season starts this Monday, March 11, regulator Tobacco Control Commission -TCC- says production for the green gold has doubled this year.
This is according to the second assessment results the commission issued over the week end and that the increase is attributed to good prices the leaf attracted in the previous marketing season.
Commencement of the market offers hope to the forex starved southern African country as the green gold remains the country’s major forex earner.
“Last year the country produced about 62 million kilograms of tobacco but this year we are looking at doubling to 130 million kilograms. For flue cured tobacco, last year we sold about 12 million and this year we have produced between 16 and 17 million kilograms,” said Dr Bruce Munthali in an interview.
He said production of the dark fire cured tobacco is also reported to have gone up from 2 million kilograms to over 4 million kilograms.
The TCC Chief expressed optimism that average earnings from the green leaf are in turn likely to go up compared to last year.
“Buyers are more than ready to offer competitive prices on the market this year. In that case we expect effective competition from buyers,” hinted Dr Munthali.
Most recent statistics indicate that tobacco accounts for about 13 percent of the national economy