The Tobacco Association of Malawi (TAMA) has urged the Government to improve security at the country’s borders to help stop leaf tobacco smuggling, according to a Malawi24 story.
Speaking at the 2019 TAMA annual meeting, the Association’s president, Kalima Banda, said curbing tobacco smuggling would ensure that Malawian tobacco growers were rewarded for their hard work.
Banda said that producing tobacco involved a lot of hard work and resources, and that growers needed to be rewarded.
But growers had to tend their tobacco with care to attract better prices, once this year’s marketing season started.
Banda advised tobacco growers not to sell their crop to middlemen, saying they should wait for the opening of the auction floors, where they could sell their crop at better prices.
It will be interesting to see whether the tobacco growers heed Banda’s warnings.
Last month, the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World said that a 2016 study found that only 25 percent of Malawian tobacco farmers were content with the prices they received in 2014, and that about 41 percent of all tobacco farmers had considered switching to alternative crops or livelihoods.
About 45 percent of all tobacco farmers in Malawi were said by the Foundation to be contract farmers, but no statistically significant differences between independent and contract farmers were found in price satisfaction and desire to switch.
Crucially, the Foundation, which was focusing initially on Malawi as part of its Agricultural Transformation Initiative, said farm-gate prices of tobacco in Malawi had fallen by 54 percent between 2012 and 2016.