By Our Reporter

Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale has described the 2022/2023 tobacco-marketing season as a success, having sold over 120.5 million kilograms of tobacco, an increase from previous year’s sale of 85 million kilograms.

Addressing journalists at the Kanengo Auction floors in Lilongwe, Kawale attributed the success to, among other things, a decrease in tobacco rejection rate and the coming in of new customers like China on the market.

Kawale said: “Owing to the immerse support from the country’s leadership and good collaboration among my Ministry, Tobacco Commission and all stakeholders in the tobacco industry, the country witnessed one of the most successful tobacco marketing seasons.”

He assured all tobacco farmers in the country that the market for tobacco, which is the country’s largest export commodity, is still big and the demand is there.

While giving an update on the status of the 2023/2024 tobacco marketing season, Kawale disclosed that the 2019 Tobacco Bill will be tabled for review in the coming Mid-Year Budget Review meeting of Parliament.

According to Kawale, the Tobacco Bill will be reviewed to align it with the needs of the tobacco farmer so that the farmer should also benefit from their produce.

He further announced that the tobacco growers licencing for the 2023/2024 growing season, which already started and was supposed to close on September 30, has been extended.

“My Ministry directed the Tobacco Commission to extend the 2023 licensing period to 31st October. However, despite the extension that was granted, my Ministry noted that there are still some growers that have not registered, hence as a considerate Ministry, I have directed that registration period be extended to 17th November 2023,” he said.

Realising the crucial role tobacco growers play in the value supply chain, the Ministry of Agriculture has also directed that tobacco growers who cannot afford to pay licence fees on cash basis should be allowed to obtain their licence and register and be deducted from their proceeds once their tobacco is sold.

As of Friday, November 03, Tobacco Commission had issued 49,073 licences, translating into 239.2 million kilograms of tobacco.

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