Higher quality, lower prices

| May 17, 2016

Some tobacco growers in Malawi are puzzled because, having been told to improve the quality of their leaf so as to attract higher prices, they are this season receiving lower prices for higher quality tobacco, according to a Malawi24.com story.

Tobacco farmers selling their leaf at the Limbe Auction Floors said they felt betrayed by the government, which had been silent on the issues of prices and rejection rates.

One of the farmers, Justin Godson, said that by this time last season, farmers were selling their tobacco for US1.10 per kg, whereas this year they were getting US$0.80 per kg.

He described the situation as very worrisome, having in mind that farmers had taken out loans that needed to be repaid.

Another farmer, Roderick Dyson, from Zomba district, wondered why there was a high rejection rate and low prices even though farmers this year had produced high quality tobacco.

“Last year these buyers were complaining of quality, but see this year there is still low price; so we don’t know what the problem is and how come,” Dyson was quoted as saying. “I think the government is just failing to tell us to stop growing tobacco.”

Dyson said the tobacco companies were making much more profit than was the farmer, who worked tirelessly and spent more money than did these companies in growing the crop.

Another farmer was quoted as saying that what was happening was contrary to what tobacco farmers had been told would happen.

He said they told there would be good prices this year, and he wondered why the government was so quiet on the matter.

One reason for the lack of government attention might be the feed-back that it is getting. The southern region Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) chairperson Willard Singo was quoted as saying that everything was going well despite minor challenges.

Singo admitted that he had received complaints from farmers but he claimed that low prices and high rejection rates were normal. He advised farmers to take care of their tobacco in order to attract good prices.

Category: Breaking News

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