Tobacco production down 67 percent in Kasungu
Malawi's tobacco production has decreased this season by 67.1 per cent in the Malawi's main tobacco district Kasungu, authorities have said.
Kasungu Agricultural Development District (ADD) program manager, Mandy Bodzalekani has confirmed that the agricultural division expects to produce 22 million kilograms of tobacco this season down from 67 million kilograms for the last season.
Kasungu's ADD constitutes of four main tobacco growing districts of Kasungu, Dowa, Ntchisi and Mchinji in central Malawi.
"The drop is so huge because last year the ADD projected 67 Million kilograms but this season the projection is at 22 million kilograms of tobacco" said Mr Bodzalekani.
Among other reasons contributing to the reduction are last year's poor prices and bad weather.
"There are fears that the decline will create an economic gap in terms of household income generation because tobacco remains a major cash crop in the ADD,' said the Kasungu ADD program manager.
Currently, most of the farmers who have abandoned the crop this season are relying on alternative crops such as soya beans, cotton, ground nuts to mention some, as a source of income.
Soya beans is selling K100 per kilogram, above the government set price of K70 per kilogram.
Until now tobacco remains a major foreign exchange earner in Malawi and experts say no single crop will replace it.