President Peter Mutharika has warned all people involved in smuggling tobacco out of the country that they will be dealt with.
Mutharika made the remarks today during the official opening of the 2017 tobacco marketing season at Lilongwe Auction Floors in the capital city.
In his address, Mutharika said he has instructed police and the army to man the borders so that no tobacco is smuggled out of the country.
The Malawi leader stressed that the punishment will apply to anyone found smuggling tobacco outside of the country.
“I will deal with anyone found trying to smuggle tobacco out of the country, whether it’s or not government official will be dealt with,” Mutharika warned.
On prices of tobacco, Mutharika asked buyers to offer good prices and not to discriminate non-contract farmers. Malawi’s first citizen also urged farmers to ensure that they sell good quality tobacco and to always use dialogue whenever there are misunderstandings.
Recently, the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) said it expects this year’s tobacco prices to be higher than last year’s since there is low supply of the leaf.
Acting chief executive officer David Luka told the local media that Malawi’s green gold looks promising in the fields. He said there is high demand and low supply this year.
“According to our estimates we did two weeks ago, we had established 125 million kilograms in all types of tobacco but the initial trade requirements were 152 million kilograms so there is a shortfall of 27 million kilograms,” Luka explained.
He further said because of that shortfall it means there will be more demand and low supply hence TCC expects a better season than the last year’s.
Last year Malawi sold over 194 million Kgs of tobacco at an average price of 1.42/Kg, raking in about US$276 million.