Fracas has erupted at the country’s oldest tobacco auction floors as buyers and farmers engaged in brawls over price disagreements.
Buyers and farmers at Kanengo Auction Floors were involved in a scuffle which ensued at around 8:30 this (Thursday) morning over continued low tobacco prices.
Since the tobacco selling season was officially commissioned weeks ago, farmers have been complaining of low prices which are as low as 82 cents.
And on Thursday morning farmers at Kanengo Auction Floors protested against the low prices and demanded a review from stakeholders.
Tempers flared up leading into uncontrollable fight when Alliance One buyer slapped a farmer, forcing other farmers to mobilize themselves and chased all buyers from Auction Floors’ premises.
Officials from Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) had to intervene and called for extra security to calm the situation. The number of casualties is currently not known.
Meanwhile, sales have been halted until further notice as government has started engaging all stakeholders to review the situation.
This year’s Tobacco Selling Season has been characterized by low prices and high rejection rate, leaving farmers with hopelessness.
On Friday last week disagreement erupted at the same Kanengo Auction Floors between farmers and buyers over prices with reports indicate that buyers were offering a minimum price of 80 cents and a maximum price of $1.84 per Kg.
Farmers and other stakeholders have described the low price issues as very unfortunate comparing to the obstacles farmers encounter when producing high quality tobacco.
Commenting on the unpleasant situation, TCC Chief Executive Office Albert Changaya said the situation is indeed worrisome and unwelcome.
Changaya added that apart from low pricing, another setback is that the tobacco rejection rate which is as higher as 52 %, a situation which is not fair at all.
Malawi tobacco farmers continue to be monopolized by buyers who are usually foreigners. Despite all hard work in growing the country’s ‘green gold’, farmers have no say on prices which are dictated by buyers.