An economist has said that Malawi needs to look beyond tobacco following the country’s leaf market having once again opened to low prices, according to a story on Malawi24.com.
The highest price paid on the opening day of this year’s tobacco selling season, which started last week, was US$1.50 per kg.
Some farmers sold their tobacco for as little as US$0.80 per kg.
Economist Joshua Mbewe said the way the tobacco selling season had started was a clear indication that the crop was no longer the green gold Malawi should be relying on.
“Gone are [the] days when tobacco could be taken as our main forex earner and hub of the economy,” Mbewe said in an interview with Malawi24.com.
He further said the low tobacco prices would affect the 2017/2018 national budget since it would be difficult to realize the much-needed forex.
“We will have difficulties to service both external and internal debts and the economy will continue to limp and stagger,” he added.
Mbewe said the time had come for people to diversify and begin growing other cash crops that might boost the economy.
In opening the 2017 tobacco selling season in Lilongwe, President Peter Mutharika told farmers to venture into other businesses, saying the global campaign against tobacco would continue to affect Malawi.