THE Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has warned that the amount of tobacco produced by the country this year is likely to be lower than earlier projected.
Initial estimates showed that Malawi had this year produced 165 million kilogrammes of all types of tobacco, a figure that was a sharp drop from the 210 million kilogramme of the leaf realised in the previous year.
However, TCC C h i e f Executive Bruce Munthali told The Daily Times in Lilongwe that following observation on the market, indications are now clear that production figures are likely to be lower than projected.
"We thought we still had a lot of tobacco from the farmers but there seems to be less than we anticipated," said Munthali.
"We wil l come up with actual figures very shortly after quantifying the tobacco remaining in the field," he said.
Munthali said, however, the market has so far stabilized in terms of prices.
He o b s e r v e d t h a t t h e devaluation of kwacha in April has helped to curb tobacco
smuggling to cross border markers as few cases are being reported now
Last year's all year market average price was US$0.97 per kilogramme although the buyers were exporting at an average price of US$3.39 per kilogram, according to the TCC figures.
This year the market started with poor prices but improved tremendously following the devaluation of the kwacha, with figures for last week showing that buyers were off e r i n g an average of US$2.13 per kilogrammes for all times of tobacco.
Last year, tobacco farmers sold on the auction floors about 210 mi l l ion kilogrammes , earning the country US$258 million.