Tobacco market opens in Lilongwe

The tobacco market has opened in Lilongwe today where secret bidding has been introduced to reduce rejection rate.

In previous seasons, buyers were stating their offers openly but this time the offers for each bale will be secret. This gives a chance to farmers to have their tobacco bought by the highest bidder.

According to Tobacco Commission Chief executive officer Kayisi Sadala, the new system is expected to improve prices offered buyers.

He added that buyers will also not be aware if a particular bale has been rejected by other buyers thus reducing the rejection rate.

This morning, the highest price offered for bales on contract was US$2.20 per Kg. On auction, prices ranged from US$0.90 to US$1.10 (MK810) per Kg.

During the selling period, about 3,000 bales will be put on sale daily as one way of creating space, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Other measures for people at the market include observing social distancing, sanitizing hands and wearing face masks.

Earlier this month, Mutharika announced ban on gatherings and other measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic but ordered that the tobacco marketing season should go on in order to protect tobacco farmers.