Malawi has sold tobacco worth US$5.7 million (about K4 billion) in the first week of the tobacco marketing season.
According to the Tobacco Association of Malawi, the US$5.7 million has been made from the sale of 4.3 million Kilogrammes of tobacco. During the first week, the average price was US$1.30.
Most of the tobacco has been sold at Chinkhoma Auction Floors in Kasungu and Lilongwe Auction Floors which opened last week.
Farmers started selling tobacco at Limbe Auction Floors in Blantyre yesterday while Mzuzu Auction Floors is expected to open on April 23.
Meanwhile, tobacco farmers are not happy with prices at Limbe Auction Floors where the highest prices on the opening day were US$2.20 for contract tobacco and US$1.24 for auction tobacco.
But speaking during the opening ceremony, Minister of Agriculture Joseph Mwanamvekha said government is engaging the buyers and he expressed hope that the prices offered will become higher since there is high demand for the crop.
He however observed that prices also reflect the quality of leaf that is being taken to the market.
About 149 million Kilograms of tobacco are expected to be sold at auction floors across the country this year but there is a demand of 171 million Kilogrammes.