Year
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Life | Up in Smoke

 

In the southern African country of Malawi, tobacco is the major export crop – responsible for 70 per cent of all export earnings. Agriculture is the mainstay of Malawi’s economy, accounting for over 90 per cent of GDP. Out of a total population of 11 million, the majority of Malawians are farmers – and seven million owe their livelihoods to the tobacco industry. But economic dependency on tobacco has not brought the country wealth. According to the World Bank, over 60 per cent of Malawians live below the poverty line – with limited access to land, little education and poor health. Yet, despite the poor returns from tobacco growing, the government has actually increased the land under cultivation. Now, as this Life episode shows, Malawians are beginning to question if the wealth promised from growing tobacco is really an illusion.

 

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