Chakwera Urges Malawians to Prioritize Forex Generation Over Economic Noise

Malawi's President calls for focus on forex generation, as tobacco prices rise due to new buyer competition, boosting farmers' earnings and economic stability.

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Mazhar Abbas
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Chakwera Urges Malawians to Prioritize Forex Generation Over Economic Noise

Chakwera Urges Malawians to Prioritize Forex Generation Over Economic Noise

President Lazarus Chakwera called on Malawians to concentrate their efforts on generating foreign exchange rather than getting sidetracked by the country's economic challenges. During the opening of the 2024 tobacco marketing season at the Chinkhoma Auction Floors in Kasungu, Chakwera emphasized that the real economists are the farmers who produce crops to earn forex for the nation.

The President expressed satisfaction with the opening day tobacco prices , which reached as high as $3 per kilogram for burley tobacco, marking the first time in over a decade that growers were content with the improved rates. Chakwera attributed the higher prices to the entry of a new player, Nyasa Tobacco Company, which has fostered constructive competition among buyers.

Chakwera warned against tobacco smuggling and took a conciliatory approach towards tobacco buyers, a departure from former President Bingu wa Mutharika's combative stance. The President also visited the Tobacco Commission's new office building in Kasungu and toured the construction of staff houses at the Engineering Battalion of the Malawi Defence Force.

Why this matters: Malawi's economy heavily relies on tobacco exports for foreign exchange earnings. The improved tobacco prices and the President's call to focus on forex generation highlight the government's efforts to bolster the country's economic stability and support tobacco farmers, who play a pivotal role in earning foreign currency for the nation.

One of the farmers echoed the President's sentiments, expressing hope that the good prices would continue throughout the season. The Nyasa Tobacco board chairperson also pledged to offer fair prices to growers. Despite some dry spells affecting production, Malawi is expected to produce 140 million kilograms of tobacco this year, against a market demand of 190 million kilograms.

Key Takeaways

  • Pres. Chakwera calls on Malawians to focus on forex generation, not challenges.
  • Tobacco prices reach $3/kg, highest in over a decade, due to new buyer Nyasa.
  • Chakwera warns against smuggling, takes conciliatory approach to tobacco buyers.
  • Malawi's economy relies heavily on tobacco exports for foreign exchange.
  • Malawi expects to produce 140M kg of tobacco this year, below market demand of 190M kg.