Tobacco buyers have been advised by Agriculture Minister, Lobin Lowe, not to buy tobacco at rates below the recommended minimum.
Lowe, speaking at the opening of the Chinkhoma Auction Floors in Kasungu, said the government expects good prices this year due to the low volume of tobacco expected this year.
Lowe said: “You know the theory of supply and demand, which says when the supply is low the demand becomes high translating into higher prices and high supply triggers low demand, which translates into low prices.
“Now this year we are expected to realise 120 Million Kilograms of Tobacco which is below what is required on the market for your information the demand is at 133 Million Kilograms,” added Lowe.
Lowe commended Tobacco buyers for maintaining the prices, which the government set as a minimum to ensure that there is a safety net for farmers in terms of reasonable pricing.
The minister said he is happier that some companies are buying tobacco far above the set minimum prices.
But Lowe explained that he was saddened with the rejection rate taking place, expressing dismay saying that “this is not required at all.”
“Why rejecting the Tobacco which is already small in quantity,” Lowe asked.
Tobacco Commission board Chairperson Harry Mkandawire also said the tobacco marketing season has started well.
Mkandawire urged farmers to ensure the quality of their leaf all the time adding that farmers should avoid mixing their Tobacco with Non-Tobacco-related materials (NTRM).
AHL acting Group Chief Executive Officer, Alfred Nkhono said the company is ready to sell Tobacco on all the floors despite the Corona Virus pandemic.
Nkhono said: “AHL has introduced technology where farmers can access what is happening at the market while in the comfort of their homes.
The country is expecting to sell 120 Million kilograms compared to 133 Million which buyers demand.
Meanwhile, TAMA Board chair Abiel Banda says contract farming is the best way of growing our tobacco so far.