Auction Holding Limited’s (AHL) Tobacco sales this year have lessened as compared to last year’s sold at the very same period.
Reasons are that of the “high rejection” by the buyers at the inception of this year’s market season.
At the beginning of the market season which was inaugurated by President Peter Mutharika and his United Republic of Tanzania counterpart John Magufuli, Nyasa Times reported a rejection rate as high as 60% with some tobacco being bought as low as US$90 cents.
Farmers at the Limbe Auction Floor boycotted the market for shoddy prices until Agriculture Minister, Joseph Mwanamveka intervened and market resumed.
AHL Communications Manager, Teresa Ndanga, stated that $20.5million which is about K15 billion has been realized against $ 31 million (about K23 billion) which was realised last year.
“We have sold about 15 million kilograms of tobacco against the 21 million kilograms we had sold this time last year. The average price per kilogram is also on the lower side. The average last year was $1.47 against this this year’s 1.34,” Ndanga stated.
According to Ndanga, the “rejection rates” have been the major contributing factor for the drop but it is good news for the tobacco farmers in the country.
Another reason outlined by Ndanga was that the farmers could have accessed their inputs late and other setbacks.
One of the Tobacco Associations of Malawi (TAMA) officials, Felix Thole, expressed optimism that the situation would improve as changes are been noted through the sales trend.