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Malawi records 55% increase in tobacco sales this season

Employees from a Malawian Tobacco auction floor check on bales as buyers browse through, at the Tobacco Auction floor on April 16, 2015 in Blantyre, Malawi.   -  
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Malawi tobacco regulators have hinted at a 55% increase in the sale of the product amounting to $282 million compared to $182 million last year.

Despite the increase, this year’s sales are still lower compared to previous years when they hit over $350 million.

Production was lower last year because the Southern African country lacked enough dollar reserves in order to import various agricultural inputs like fertilizers and even fuel.

Malawi’s Tobacco Commission Spokesperson said this year's production which is more than $121 million has been improved by the good weather.

Malawi is one of the lowest income countries but a major tobacco producer, ranking first in the world for burley and seventh for overall production.

No other economy is more dependent on the leaf. Government statistics say over 70 percent of the nation's export income comes from tobacco.

Returns from tobacco, dubbed the 'Malawi's Green Gold', have dwindled over the past decade due to declining global demands driven by anti-smoking campaigns.

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