Tobacco sales at Lilongwe auction floors have been suspended after disagreements over prices.
On the opening day of the tobacco market, buyers were buying the leaf at a minimum price of 80 cents and a maximum price of $1.84 per Kg. But on Thursday, the highest price was $1.54 while on Friday the most expensive leaf was bought at $1.50.
The low prices prompted farmers to call for the closure of the market, arguing that they will make losses if they continue selling their tobacco at low prices.
One of the farmers said the buyers are crooks as they are stealing from them by offering low prices.
He also complained that the buyers are offering different prices to auction farmers and contract farmers even when the tobacco is of the same quality.
For many years, tobacco buyers have been buying the leaf at lower prices and this makes the farmers not to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
On Thursday, CISANET expressed disappointment over the low prices buyers offer to farmers saying farmers invest a lot but gain less.
“We are not satisfied because we are aware that farmers put much effort but get little money,” said Tamani Nkhono-Mvula, CISANET Executive Director.
Some economic experts have since called for the devaluation of the Kwacha during the tobacco selling season so that farmers should make more money.