- Malawi’s main foreign earner, tobacco, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the country’s export earnings is said to be facing a price drop battle that could hit hard on the local producers.
The price of Burley tobacco, a lower-grade variety of the leaf used to fill cigarettes flavored with higher-grade flue-cured tobacco, has reportedly fallen 31 percent after a 14 weeks trading as compared to last year.
According to a statement issued by Auction Holdings Ltd., tobacco earnings fetched $161.2 million by June 23 this year, which is much lower than the $233.9 million during the same period last year earlier.
The further statement said during the period, farmers sold 99.5 million kilograms of tobacco at an average price of $2.08 per kilogram, compared with 98.7 million kilograms at an average price of $2.24 last year.
Local market watchers have however also blamed the fall in price to unfair and belowe the minimum set price offers by buyers to the local farmers. According to reports, the government has set a minimum price of $2.15 per kilogram, but buyers are offering farmers less than that because the leaf is said to be of a poorer quality than last year and also the blame is put on the global recession which is said to have curbed the demand.
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