Malawi Tobacco Sales Increase by 55% in Latest Season.

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According to the industry regulator, Malawi’s greatest source of foreign money, tobacco sales grew to around $282 million in the most recent season from $182 million a year earlier.

Recent declines in tobacco sales have contributed to severe dollar shortages, which have made it difficult for the donor-dependent nation of southern Africa to buy gasoline, fertilizer, and medicines.

Malawi has started talks with its creditors about debt restructuring and turned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial assistance.

There is no other economy more reliant on the leaf. According to official data, tobacco accounts for more than 70% of the country’s export earnings.

Malawi’s tobacco sales in the 2023 season were larger than the previous year, but they weren’t as high as they had been in years before when they had exceeded $350 million.

Despite having one of the lowest income levels, Malawi is one of the world’s top producers of tobacco, coming in at number seven overall and first for burley.

According to Telephorus Chigwenembe, spokesman for the Tobacco Commission, favorable weather helped increase tobacco production from 85 million kilos to over 121 million kilograms in the most recent season. Additionally, prices rose from $2.14/kg to $2.35/kg on average.

“The leaf rejection rate was low, and the selling season was shorter and more effective. The number of purchasers in the nation rose from eight to ten, each of whom had a demand of their own, resulting in more competition on the market, he added.

Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera issued a warning that tobacco sales were on the verge of collapse in 2021 and advocated a move to fast-growing crops like cannabis.

Sales of tobacco have decreased as a result of decades of public health education that have progressively persuaded people around the world of the hazards of smoking. However, cannabis has also begun to be recognized as a form of medicine.

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