According to a report by media mwnation on January 28, despite facing a wave of anti-tobacco protests, Malawi insisted that it would continue to grow tobacco leaves and determined to become the largest tobacco production area in South Africa by 2028.
Malawi Tobacco Commission (TC) Director Joseph Chidanti-Malunga said in an interview during a tree planting event on Saturday (January 27) that Malawi’s short to long-term The goal is to produce at least 200 million kilograms of tobacco leaves per year.
He pointed out that although there are some people who are against tobacco cultivation, just like there are people who are against coffee or sugar, this will not stop Malawi from continuing to grow tobacco. Malonga called tobacco the lifeline of Malawi and believed that without tobacco, Malawi's economy would collapse.
Ironically, although Malawi has fully joined the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and ratified it in August 2023, the country still insists on tobacco leaf cultivation. The Convention, which enters into force on November 16, 2023, provides specific steps to address tobacco use and production, with international coordination to address issues of stabilizing health and reducing tobacco production.
However, Malonga said despite ratifying the convention, Malawi remains one of the world's most tobacco-dependent economies.
William Chadza, executive director of the Agricultural Policy Advancement and Transformation Agenda (Mwapata) Institute, said ratification of the convention should provide an incentive for Malawi to pursue other alternatives.
According to Malawi guidelines, tobacco is the country's main cash crop, contributing approximately 60% of foreign exchange earnings and 15% to the economy, employing millions of people directly or indirectly.
Last year, Malawi earned $282.61 million from 120 million kilograms of tobacco at an average price of $2.35 per kilogram. This compares with revenue of $182 million from 85 million kilograms of tobacco the previous year, at an average price of $2.14 per kilogram.