Malawi: Overproduction Blamed for Malawi Tobacco Poor Prices

Tobacco farm (file photo).

Tobacco Commission (TC), formerly Tobacco Control Commission, says overproduction has affected prices during this year’s Malawi tobacco marketing season.

TC chief executive officer (CEO) Kayisi Sadala, said at a news conference in that tobacco has fetched only US$200 million at an average price of USD1.48 per kilogramme.

“The average price attained during this season, is lower than 2018 owing to overproduction as buyers have resized their budget to accommodate the excess tobacco thereby negatively affecting the prices offered,” he said.

Sadala said despite lower prices comparatively within the region, Malawi has remained competitive.

He said in order to manage the crop size and manage overproduction, the commission is licencing growers through quota allocation that have been formulated based on the consolidated demand.

TC also appealed to farmers to produce within the given allocated quarters.

Tobacco farmers recently expressed concern over poor prices which buyers are offering.

Speaking at Kanengo Floors in Lilongwe, the farmers said they are worried with the current prices which are being offered.

Tobacco farmers complained that Tobacco Association of Malawi (TAMA) is stealing from them by deducting what they are not even supposed to deducts a claim which Tama rejected in an earlier interview.

Farmers stormed AHL Tobacco Floors to appreciate themselves status of tobacco marketing.

But Sadala placed hope on Tobacco Industry Act 2019 as a complete departure from the old Act of 1938 which was later reviewed in 1971, saying tobacco growers will now be protected as there are stringent penalties, including huge monetary fines and imprisonment.

The fines range from K2 million to K10 million and jail terms of up to five years.

He said the Act has addressed issues of tobacco overproduction, use of non-certified tobacco seed, irregularities in growers’ registration and transportation, tobacco processing, grading and exporting as well as the uprooting of tobacco plants and stalks, among other challenges gripping the tobacco sector.

Tama CEO Felix Thole said farmers expect the new regulatory environment in the tobacco industry to improve in the wake of the new tobacco legislation.n