Sales of tobacco at Limbe Auction floors will close end this month due to what regulator, Tobacco Commission (TC), has described as limited stock levels.
Tuesday for instance, a sales dashboard at the market show that 1,600 bales of tobacco were sold.
TC Chief Executive Officer, Kaisi Sadala said in an interview that previously, the market could absorb up to 5,000 bales of tobacco per day.
He said currently, on average, Limbe Floors is trading about 1,500 bales a day.
Sadala said after assessing the market, a sales and deliveries committee has resolved that the market be closed for this year’s season.
“The good thing is that most farmers have already sold their tobacco and if there are some, they will be selling this week. Again, the rest of the markets such as in Lilongwe will remain open so they can still sell their leaf there,” Sadala said.
However, he could not tell volume of tobacco yet to be traded at the market.
Tobacco Association of Malawi Trust Chief Executive Officer, Nixion Lita described the closure as normal, saying the selling season closes once stock is exhausted in the catchment area.
“The message has gone to all that the market is closing and Tama will assist those that have not delivered to do so within the allowable time so that all tobacco in the southern region is sold before July 31,” Lita said.
The market was opened on April 27.
Revenue from tobacco hit $129.7 million at the end of week 13 of sales after trading about 85.4 million kilogrammes (kgs), figures from AHL Group show.
During same time last year, the country sold about 104.5 million kg of all types of tobacco, realising $155.1 million.
This represents an 18.2 percent decrease in sales volume and a 16.4 percent drop in seasonal earnings.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.
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