Tobacco sales at Chinkhoma Auction Floors, have been described as impressive with the maximum price reaching US$ 2.40 per Kg on the opening day.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Controller of Agriculture Services responsible for Institutions, Dr. Alexander Bulirani said the sales started at a very good note.
“We have the impression that we started on a positive note. Looking at the prices, they are very much promising because, the maximum price being paid by JTI is US$ 2.40 per Kg. We expect the average price to almost match US$ 1.40 realized at Kanengo Auction floors,” he pointed out.
Bulirani said no disruptions are expected this season as the new arrangement of the market does not allow growers to be inside.
“This time, we will only have farmers representatives inside to protect the farmers interests, it was challenging because it was a new thing, we have given maximum information to the growers to understand the new system,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), for Tobacco Commission (TC), Kaisi Sadala said Chinkhoma has started with contract marketing only in order to comply with measures put in place to avoid the spread of Corona Virus Disease (Covid-19).
“We have not started auction because it will be done differently this season with a new system, this has been done in view of Covid-19 measure of maintaining social distance. We have secret bidding system which requires a bidder to view tobacco at a time, this is still new and we are observing the short falls as it is implemented at Kanengo so that when it is adopted in all markets it should run smoothly,” he explained.
Sadala commended the buyers for offering better prices.
“As a commission, we are happy with the progress especially when it comes to prices, they are better than what we started with in Lilongwe. I would like to advise the growers that they should avoid bringing mixed grade tobacco as this prompts the buyers to offer very low prices or completely reject some bales,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for TAMA Farmers Trust, Felix Thole hailed the growers at Chinkhoma for producing quality tobacco that fetched a maximum price.
“It was impressive that we are able to get a quality leaf worthy the highest price so far,” he said.
Thole urged farmers to maintain the good quality of tobacco.
“The industry has been preaching against prevalence of non-tobacco related materials, over conditioned and mixed tobacco, we noticed such kind of tobacco at some points, we would like to echo the same that farmers should take care of the crop if they are to get good prices,” he said.