In Pictures: Malawi's tobacco industry

With plummeting prices and a collapsing market, much of the industry is going up in smoke.


Blantyre, Malawi - This country has traditionally depended heavily on tobacco production and sales to support its economy. But its reliance on the cash crop has contributed to Malawi's vulnerable economic position on the global level.

However, with poor market prices, the anti-smoking lobby gaining new prominence and poor economic governance, farmers are now turning to more profitable crops.

According to the International Tobacco Growers Association, transnational tobacco manufacturing and tobacco leaf companies have been collaborating in numerous efforts to oppose global tobacco control. One of their strategies is to stress the economic importance of tobacco to the developing countries that grow it.

Malawi is an extreme example, but not a unique case, of how transnational tobacco companies have used developing countries' economic dependence to oppose global tobacco regulations. While there is a push for Malawi to diversify crops for economic stability, for now, tobacco will remain the country's main foreign exchange earner.