Nankhumwa in surprise visit to Lilongwe Tobacco Floors

Nankhumwa at auction floors

Minister of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa, on Tuesday toured Tobacco Auction Floors in Lilongwe with the market set to close in less than a week's time.

The visit brought to light the fact that buying prices for tobacco, continue to be a contentious issue as government believes the prices have picked up, while farmers say the country's green gold is fetching very little.

Nankhumwa said he was impressed that prices had picked up.

"We would like to assure farmers that all tobacco will be sold," Nankhumwa said.

On the variation in buying prices and systems, Nankhumwa said farmers have a choice to go for contract or auction systems.

However, some  farmers have bemoaned  low prices and have since called upon government to negotiate with buyers for better prices.

Roderick Samuel, a farmer from Tchawale village, in Mponela, Dowa said he is very worried with the low prices  especially from contract buyers.

Samuel said some farmers are now contemplating calling for the abolishment of contract farming as there is more competition on the auction market and farmers are fetching better prices.

 

Tobacco Commission figures show that the country's green gold has so far fetched US$7.9 million.