President Peter Mutharika has warned that he will personally be monitoring tobacco prices so that farmers must never be cheated with poor prices.
Pres. Mutharika at Auction
Mutharika made the remarks when he officially opened Kanengo Auction Floors this morning in Lilongwe.
His remarks comes after there have been complaints in the past that so many prices that are set prior to the opening of the market drop a day after opening the floors.
On Tuesday Mutharika met country`s major Tobacco buyers at Kamuzu palace in Lilongwe where among others they agreed to peg the prices at a minimum price of $1.73 for and $2.75 per kg for Burley and Flue Cured tobacco respectively.
“My understanding is that these minimum prices will be higher than the protected prices. I will be monitoring the selling floors closely to ensure the implementation of this arrangement because My Government is therefore promoting tobacco production and marketing as a crop of strategic importance so that our farmers in the rural areas are economically empowered,” said Mutharika.
Flanked by the Vice President Rt. Hon Soulosi Chilima the first citizen assured tobacco farmers of better tobacco markets in future at the same time being upbeat on the continuation of the trade regardless of the proposed ban internationally.
”I am informed that tobacco volumes this year are in line with demand (trade requirements) and that the quality is generally good. It is my prayer that farmers have a sustainable return on their tobacco,” he added.
Commenting on the issue of prices, Tobacco Association of Malawi President, Graham Kumimba said, the country sets to benefit from this year’s sales as there are more buyers than the Tobacco which is on the market which might make the prices to go up due to the factors of supply and demand.
“Yes we might have produced less amount of the green gold this year but also that can work to our advantage as because it mean now that we will have more buyers than sellers on the market,” said Kumimba.
After Kanengo auction floors has been opened, Limbe, Mzuzu Auction floors and other smaller markets will be officially opened by the Minister of Agriculture Dr Allan Chiyembekeza.