Africa, Earth, Malawi, Southern Africa

Malawi – Tobacco

Malawi, 1 hwatcha banknote, featuring tobacco workers

From wikipedia here:   Tobacco production in Malawi is one of the nation’s largest sources of income. As of 2005, Malawi was the 12th largest producer of tobacco leaves and the 7th largest global supporter of tobacco leaves. As of 2010, Malawi was the world’s leading producer of burley leaf tobacco. With the decline of tobacco farms in the West, interest in Malawi’s low-grade, high-nicotine tobacco has increased. Today, Malawian tobacco is found in blends of nearly every cigarette smoked in industrialized nations including the popular and ubiquitous Camel and Marlboro brands. It is the world’s most tobacco dependent economy.

Burley leaf from Malawi makes up 6.6 percent of the worlds tobacco exports and accounts for over 70 percent of Malawi’s foreign earnings. Tobacco sales generate 165 million dollars per year for Malawi, with tobacco making up 53 percent of Malawi’s exports.

Approximately 75 percent of the population depends on tobacco farming although only a small proportion of Malawians are smokers. 5 million workers are indirectly employed in related industries or are family members of tobacco workers.

Malawi, 1 kwatcha banknote, 1992, President-for-Life Hastings Banda

During the era of Hastings Banda, 1966-1994, the local tobacco industry grew and changed and flourished.  Production rose 100% by the 1970s from the pre-independence days.  Furthermore in the 1970s, tobacco production began its huge shit from the “developed” nations to the “developing” nations, a movement upon which Malawi capitalized.  Formerly one of the very poorest of African nations, its economy has been bolstered substantially by tobacco.

Malawi gained independence in 1964, and Banda the presidency in 1966.  In 1970 he was named President-for-Life, a position held until he lost a UN pressured election in 1994.

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