Farmers complain of low prices as Malawi tobacco market opens


The 2022 tobacco marketing season has opened today with farmers complaining of low prices offered at the market.

This year’s selling season has opened with the highest price at around $1.45 per kg and the lowest at 95 cents on the auction market.

On the contract market, buyers were offering $2.30 with the minimum price being $0.95.

During the tour of the floors, President Lazarus Chakwera had an interface with the farmers who complained of low prices and asked for a review of the prices.

The farmers argued that prices are usually high during the opening of the market but most of the time they are low and do not tally with what they invested to grow the tobacco.

Chakwera said government will intervene but urged the farmers to make sure they comply with set standards on handling the crop meet the buyers’ expectations.

But in his speech, the Malawi leader said he expects this year’s prices to be higher since the supply is low and demand is high.

“Tobacco remains our strategic crop and each one of us has in one way or the other, benefited from tobacco, so let’s try to be compliant to the needs of buyers so that we fetch fair prices,” Chakwera said.

About 103 million kilogrammes of all types of tobacco are expected to be sold this year, slightly lower than this year’s demand of 140 million kilogrammes.

Board Chairperson for Tobacco Commission, Jolly Nkhonjera, said the low production is due to late onset of the rainy season.

Last year, Malawi earned $197.1 million (about K160 billion) from the sale of 123.7 million kilograms of all tobacco types. In 2020, Malawi sold 114 million kilograms of tobacco and earned $174.97 million (about K143 billion).