Tobacco industry regulator, Tobacco Commission (TC), has assured farmers of flawless trading at the auction floors this season.
This comes after the government, through the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc), contributed about K6 billion to bail tobacco market operator, AHL Holdings, from its financial woes.
In a statement, TC Chief Executive Officer Joseph Chidanti Malunga, said the auction floors at Limbe, Lilongwe, Chikhoma and Mzuzu will operate smoothly.
He then issued a stern warning against tobacco vending, saying anyone found would face the wrath of the law.
“The commission reminds the general public and tobacco growers that tobacco vending is an offence under the Tobacco Industry Act and any person involved in vending could be convicted by the court of law,” the statement reads.
However, Malunga was mum on possible days for opening of the market.
In an interview yesterday, AHL spokesperson Teresa Ndanga said the firm has devised innovative ways of operating the market this season.
“The electronic system, which if stakeholders are in support of, will be implemented and will improve both the efficiency and transparency of the tobacco market while we ensure that markets are not crowded and that there is strict adherence to Covid preventive measures,” she said.
Experts project a drop in tobacco output this season.
The leaf remains Malawi’s single top forex earner.
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.