By Amos Banda, MANA
Tobacco sales at Chinkhoma Auction Floors have been described as impressive with the maximum price reaching US$2.40 per kg on the opening day.
Controller of agriculture services responsible for institutions, Dr. Alexander Bulirani said the maximum price being paid by JTI is US$2.40 per kg and expect the average price to almost match US$1.40 realized at Kanengo Auction Floors.
Bulirani said no disruptions are expected this season as the new arrangement of the market does not allow growers to be inside.
“This time, we will only have farmers representatives inside to protect the farmers’ interests,” he said. “It was challenging because it was a new system but we have given maximum information to the growers to understand the new system.”
Tobacco Commission Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala said Chinkhoma has started with contract marketing only in order to comply with measures put in place to avoid the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We have not started auction because it will be done differently this season with a new system, this has been done in view of COVID-19 measure of maintaining social distance,” Sadala said.
“We have secret bidding system which requires a bidder to view tobacco at a time. This is still new and we are observing the shortfalls as it is implemented at Kanengo so that when it is adopted in all markets it should run smoothly.”
Sadala commended the buyers for offering better prices, saying “we are happy with the progress especially when it comes to prices, which are better than what we started with in Lilongwe”.
“I would like to advise the growers that they should avoid bringing mixed grade tobacco as this prompts the buyers to offer very low prices or completely reject some bales.”
CEO for TAMA Farmers Trust, Felix Thole hailed the growers at Chinkhoma for producing quality tobacco that fetched a maximum price and urged the farmers to maintain the good tobacco quality.
“The industry has been preaching against prevalence of non-tobacco related materials, over conditioned and mixed tobacco. We noticed such kind of tobacco at some points and we would like to echo the same that farmers should take care of the crop if they are to get good prices,” he said.