The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has expressed optimism that the way forward next growing season’s output will help the economic recovery efforts as the volumes are expected to be adequate for to boost the country’s foreign earnings..
Last season, Malawi produced only 79 million kilogram’s of tobacco, earning the country $ 177 million.
TCC Chief Executive Officer Bruce Munthali said in an interview in Salima on Sunday that both production and market prospects for tobacco are looking possessive for the country.
“We are very optimistic that tobacco will make a significantly contribute to the recovery efforts looking at trends so far. And more farmers have registered,” said Munthali.
He said that the contribution of tobacco use in the recovery effort depends on controlled production, improve quality, compliance and best price per unit, and in the long-term, value-addiction and balanced diversification of tobacco varieties would be critical.
However, some manufacturers in Salima sought guarantees from TCC on prices especially with the expected increase in production volume, while others have expressed concern about the marketing contract, which, according to them, there were no prices agreed as expected.
Munthali said that manufacturers TCC is still discussing with customers on the terms of the contract farming.
“We had a meeting last week, and we will continue to meet, but well, that even if the increase in volume, they will not exceed the demand, as it was before,” said Munthali.
Meanwhile, the TCC boss said in connection with the external pressure, the industry succumbed and moves to reduce auction marketing and increase contract sales or Integrated Productions System (IPS).
The government this year allocated 80% of this year’s total marketing to IPS, but there have been problems with other interested parties, that the government has moved too quickly in the phasing-out of the auction system.
“Customers want the IPS to closely monitor production in regard to compliance issues. We know that there is a problem, but we have no choice,” said Munthali.
He said, however, that in case of serious problems with the IPS; TCC would not hesitate to review the figures allocated to contract sale.