Tobacco growers are being advised to take proper care of their leaf during reaping and grading to maintain quality and attract better prices during auctioning.
The remarks come at a time production estimates for the green gold are showing a likely yield of about 128 million kilogrammes (kg), representing a 51 percent increase from last year’s 85 million kg.
According to First Round Tobacco Estimates Report by the Tobacco Commission, this projected output rise is attributable to better prices of last season, better rainfall this year, entry of new buying companies on the market and increased sponsorship by merchants.
Key stakeholder, TAMA Farmers Trust is describing the development as not surprising given the favourable rainfall distribution pattern being experienced this year.
While urging growers to follow expert advice on how to handle the leaf during and after harvesting the trust’s Chief Executive Officer Nixon Lita, notes that poor handling during such stages could also affect production size.
“Farmers must follow extension services properly to ensure that the reaping and preservation processes do not compromise quality as well as production volumes.
“This is critical because it can affect the prices and eventually total earnings of the farmers and the country at large,” Lita said.
Burley tobacco production is expected to increase by 54 percent from 69 million kilogrammes to 106 million kg.
Meanwhile, projections show that Lilongwe will produce much of the anticipated volumes at 60million kg to be followed by Mzuzu at 30 million kg Kasungu 24million kg and Limbe 10million kg.
Last year, the country sold a cumulative of 85million kg of tobacco at an average price of 2dollars 14cents per kilogramg –raking in the total of 182million US dollars according to available AHL figures.
In 2021, the country sold 123.7 million kg of tobacco at an average price of 1dollar 59 cents per kg.