The third tobacco selling floor (Limbe Auction floors) in Malawi opened its 2018 marketing season on 16th April 2018, a week earlier than 2017. The opening was presided over by the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Hon. Joseph Mwanamvekha. On this opening day, a total of 498 bales of burley was offered for sale under auction system with 365 bales available on contract marketing system. It was all smiles on farmers as prices reached US$1.70 per kg and US$2.45 per kg as highest on auction and contract systems, respectively.
Also on offer were burley tobacco wrapper whose highest price was US4.00 per Kg. Commenting on these developments, the Minister expressed optimism of better prices considering that there is anticipated undersupply which would lead to competition by the buying companies. In his official opening remarks, the Minister expressed concern at poor management of tobacco by the farmers in the region as reflected in high incidences of Non Tobacco Related Material (NTRM). This, He said, is eroding buyer confidence on the Limbe market. He, therefore, appealed to all farmers to follow tobacco grading and management standards in order to improve on tobacco presentation.
He further urged farmers to engage in dialogue with tobacco companies when dissatisfied with prices instead of resorting to violence or market stoppages. On tobacco buying companies, the Minister acknowledged their commitment and support to minimum prices set by Government. He, therefore, appealed for fair and competitive pricing.