The country's tobacco selling season is expected to come to an end on July 20 but the period could be extended if it is established that more tobacco bales could still be brought to the markets, the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has said.
TCC Chief Executive Officer Bruce Munthali said yesterday it is only Lilongwe and Mzuzu markets that are still trading while Limbe and Chinkhoma already closed on July 1 and July 12 respectively.
He said only contract tobacco sales are still going on at Limbe where they are expected to end by the close of this month.
"We have scheduled to close the markets on July 20. But we shall continue consulting other stakeholders and if we can establish that there is still more tobacco that has not yet gone through the auction, we might consider extending," said Munthali.
He said the commission will make sure that all the tobacco that is still with farmers is sold.
"This year, we will not leave any tobacco unsold. We want all the tobacco to go through the auction. That is why we are giving room for extension," he said.
Meanwhile, Munthali said by the close of business on July 11, the green gold had earned the country US$152 million in forex.
He said a total of 69.6 million kilogrammes of all types of tobacco had gone through the auction floors.
By the same time last year, the country had sold 70 million kilogrammes for US$72 million.
"The current statistics represent a 111 percent increase in earnings for the farmers," said Munthali.
He said currently there is an overwhelming response from the farmers to grow tobacco next season as more are coming to register for the next coming season.
"The response by the farmers gives hope that next year, there will be a robust tobacco production," said Munthali.