Auction Holdings limited (AHL) says the future of Malawi’s Burley tobacco is still solid despite a few current hitches surrounding the production and pricing levels to match with the international demands.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the holding Evance Matabwa disclosed that the local leaf is still considered as the best and very attractive in the world because of the chemical content namely DDT which government recommends the farmers to use during the production.
“Let me assure you that Malawi’s tobacco industry has remained competitive on the global market in the face of the global financial crisis and anti-smoking lobbying because of its quality. And the future of the industry still appears brighter despite the lagged effects of the crisis,” noted matabwa.
However, the CEO said the undesirable deposits in tobacco bales are still a major challenge.
“But we have now put in place some mechanisms to flush out vendors and middlemen since they are the ones who are allegedly put tobacco related materials in the bales to fetch more revenue. We have trained our team on how to identify those problems,” said Matabwa.
Matabwa said Malawi’s leaf is much far better in the region, hence high reports of tobacco smuggling to other countries.
He said government has started implementing regulatory mechanisms to fetch higher prices just like in the past, aimed among others things at checking on the production of the leaf, avoid comprising the price of the leaf in the next marketing seasons and enforcing the use of certified tobacco seeds.
In the recent years, the prospects of the Malawi’s green gold (which has of the past contributed heavily to the economic development of the country), have been dwindling due to among others; unreliable rainfall that caused dry spells and floods, weak international markets due to anti-smoking lobby’s initiated by world health organisation (WHO) and weak economic status of the country.
The situation has made some quarters of the people to advocate for diversification, of which, no tangible replacement has been identified to date.