By: Lackson Kanyoza
Tobacco sales which were suspended at Lilongwe and Chinkhoma Auction Floors on Friday over price disagreements is expected to resume today.
On Friday, farmers were frustrated by the poor pricing and stopped sales after accusing buyers of stealing from them following poor prices and high rejection rates.
This prompted the farmers to call for the closure of the market, arguing that they will make losses if they continue selling their tobacco at low prices.
However, Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) through its Chief Executive Officer Albert Changaya confirmed that the issue has been resolved and the market will reopen today.
“The market indeed started on a poor note with low prices and high rejection rate but over the weekend we held roundtable discussions with both farmers and the buyers and the issue has been resolved amicably.
We told the farmers to express their grievances and we have discussed the matters so the market will be reopened today,” said Changaya.
In his remarks,Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) Board Chairperson Inkosi ya Makosi M’mbelwa IV, who officially opened the Chinkhoma Auction Floors uttered that the poor tobacco price is an unwelcome development for farmers.
He expressed optimism that the reforms which TCC is undertaking which include the review of the Tobacco Act and the growers’ legislation system will improve the tobacco sector.
During the opening day of the tobacco market, tobacco was selling at a minimum price of 80 cents and a maximum price of $1.84 per Kg. But on Thursday, the highest price was $1.54 while on Friday the most expensive leaf was bought at $1.50.
Meanwhile, Limbe Auction Floors is expected to open on April 18, 2016, while the market in Mzuzu will be opened on 25th April.