By Chimwemwe Mangazi:
The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has said this year’s tobacco selling season will start on April 25 with the opening of the Lilongwe Auction Floors.
TCC Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala, said the Chinkhoma Auction Floors is expected to be opened on April 29.
He said Limbe and Mzuzu markets would be opened on May 2 and May 6, respectively, while Kabwafu satellite floor would be opened on May 16.
Sadala said the development follows a continuous tobacco supply exercise that started last week which has seen enough tobacco being delivered to the floors to ensure a continuous selling exercise.
“We have received over 5000 bales of tobacco at the Lilongwe Auction Floors, which is enough not only to start the selling of the commodity but also ensure a continuous marketing of the crop so the sales will commence of April 25.
“I would like to urge all tobacco growers to make sure that they prepare their tobacco in line with proper guidelines such as grading of the tobacco, conditioning and removing foreign materials in their bales to ensure that the tobacco fetches good prices on the market,” Sadala said.
President Peter Mutharika is expected to commission the start of the tobacco-selling season.
The start of the tobacco-selling season is critical for Malawi as it is the time economic activities reach a peak.
Second round crop estimates released by both the TCC and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development have shown that Malawi is expected to produce 205.5 million kilogrammes (kg) of tobacco this year.
The figure is, however, higher than the 152 million kg tobacco-buying companies intend to buy this year.
Last year, the country sold 202 million kg of tobacco, realising $330 million.