As the tobacco market opened at Mzuzu Auction Floors on Monday, many farmers who came to sell their leaf were left disappointed as hundreds of tobacco bales were rejected.
On the opening day, 1,723 bales were on the market ready to be sold but only 1, 102 bales were sold with some of the tobacco rejected bales being sent back for regrading.
The highest price on the day was $1.75 per Kg while the minimum was 90 cents per Kg.
A farmer from Rumphi, Joshua Mzumala, told Malawi24 that the rejection rate is disappointing to farmers as they worked hard to produce the leaf.
“A lot of bales have been rejected compared with the number of bales sold, this is so pathetic as far as the hardship of tobacco is concerning,” said Mzumala.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Development Gray Nyandule Phiri told farmers during the opening that the price will rise as the marketing season continues.
“Don’t worry with the price that you are receiving today because many bales you are selling today are from bottom leaves, we are sure the prices will be adjusting up when the market goes on. Government is doing everything to offer good prices to Malawi gold leaf,” said Phiri.
President Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) asked farmers to ensure they do not mix different types of tobacco to avoid rejection at the market.
“You can see all tobacco with good grading is being sold at good prices while those who mix different types of the crop are getting low prices. So we are asking all farmers to make sure their tobacco is graded well to be offered with good prices,” said Banda.
This is the fourth market to be opened Kanengo, Chinkhoma and Limbe Auction floors.