Human Ecology

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 1–19 | Cite as

Assessing Societal Benefits and Trade-Offs of Tobacco in the Miombo Woodlands of Malawi

  • Alois Mandondo
  • Laura German
  • Henry Utila
  • Ustanzious Martin Nthenda
Article

Abstract

This study assesses the social, economic and environmental impacts and trade-offs of investment in tobacco in two districts in the Miombo woodlands of Malawi. Socioeconomic impacts were analyzed for stakeholder groups differentially affected by large-scale tobacco cultivation: those losing land to estates, those employed on estates, small-scale growers selling to the estates and small-scale wood suppliers. Tobacco growers emerge the biggest beneficiaries from the expansion of tobacco, with real returns among smallholders depending on the extent to which tobacco cultivation constricts or boosts other livelihood activities. Those losing land to tobacco estates are the major losers: efforts to recuperate their livelihoods prove less than adequate to offset the costs of land loss. Smallholder wood suppliers shared more or less the same outcome as employees in securing low returns, often inadequate for more than basic livelihood needs. The literature and fieldwork also document high rates of tobacco-induced deforestation from plantation expansion and unsustainable wood sourcing practices for tobacco drying and curing. Negative ecological externalities are born by local stakeholders and the public alike. We identify opportunities for leveraging more equitable and sustainable outcomes from land-based investments in forested landscapes.

Keywords

Large-scale land acquisitions Tobacco Trade-offs Deforestation Malawi 

References

  1. Abalu, G., Mucavele, F., N'gon'gola, D., van Rooyen, J., Kirsten, J. F., Van Zyl, J., Saasa, O. S., Simbi, T., Sithole G., and Vink, N. (1996) Comparative Analysis of Structural Adjustment Programs in Southern Africa, with Emphasis on Agriculture and Trade. SD Publication Series Technical Paper 23. Nairobi: USAID/REDSO/ESA/ANR. Available at: http://www.afr-sd.org/publications/23souafr.pdf (accessed Oct 29, 2013).
  2. Blomley, T., Pfliegner, K., Isango, J., Zahabu, E., Ahrends, A., and Burgess, N. (2008). Seeing the Wood for the Trees: An Assessment of the Impact of Participatory Forest Management on Forest Condition in Tanzania. Oryx 42(3): 380–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Borras, S. M., Franco, J. C., Carranza, D., and Alano, M. L. (2011). The Fundamentally Flawed ‘Marginal Lands’ Narrative: Insights from the Philippines. Paper presented at the International Conference on Global Land Grabbing, Brighton, UK, 6–8 April 2011.Google Scholar
  4. Breag, C., and Harker, A. P. (1980). Tobacco. Report on a Visit to Malawi (6 February–13 April 1978) (Report 735). Tropical Products Institute, London.Google Scholar
  5. Bunderson, W. T., and Hayes, I. M. (1997). Sustainable Tobacco Production in Malawi: The Role of Supply and Demand. Paper presented at the seminar on “Malawi Tobacco and the Future”, Club Makokola, Mangochi, October 1997.Google Scholar
  6. Cavendish, W. (2002). Quantitative Methods for Estimating the Economic Value of Resource use to Rural Households. In Campbell, B. M., and Luckert, M. (eds.), Uncovering the Hidden Harvest: Valuation Methods for Woodland and Forest Resources. Earthscan, London, pp. 17–65.Google Scholar
  7. Cernea, M. (2004). Impoverishment Risks, Risk Management, and Reconstruction: A Model of Population Displacement and Resettlement. Paper presented at the UN Symposium on Hydropower and Sustainable Development, Beijing, October 27–29, 2004. Available at: http://www.communitymining.org/attachments/254_population_resettlement_IRR_MODEL_cernea.pdf (accessed April 24, 2013).
  8. Chifamba, O. and Chikwati, E. (2012). Zimbabwe: Tobacco curing and deforestation. Available at: http://allafrica.com/stories/201203160250.html?page=3 (accessed Oct 4, 2013).
  9. Chilongo, T. (2005). An Assessment of Smallholders’ Access to Produce Markets in Malawi: The Case of Kasungu RDP. In Takane, T. (ed.), Current Issues in Rural Development in Malawi. IDE, Japan, pp. 141–164.Google Scholar
  10. Chirwa, E. W. (2004). Access to Land, Growth and Poverty Reduction in Malawi. University of Malawi, Chancellor College.Google Scholar
  11. Colchester, M. (2010). Free, Prior and Informed Consent: Making FPIC Work for Forests and Peoples. TFD Research Paper 11. The Forests Dialogue, New Haven.Google Scholar
  12. Davoodi, H., and Zou, H. (1998). Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Study. Journal of Urban Economics 43(1998): 244–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. de Schutter, O. (2011). The Green Rush: The Global Race for Farmland and the Rights of Land Users. Harvard International Law Journal 52(2): 503–559.Google Scholar
  14. FLEGT (2007). A Timber Legality Assurance System. FLEGT Briefing Notes 3. Available at: http://www.euflegt.efi.int/files/attachments/euflegt/efi_briefing_note_03_eng_221010.pdf (accessed April 24, 2013).
  15. Fraser, A. I., and Bowles, R. C. D. (1986). The Use of Wood by the Tobacco Industry in Malawi. International Forestry Science Consultancy, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  16. Geist, H. (1997). How Tobacco Farming Contributes to Tropical Deforestation. Paper presented at the Tobacco Deliberation Group Meeting, National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development, Utrecht, 29 October 1997.Google Scholar
  17. Geist, H. (1999). Global assessment of deforestation related to tobacco farming. Tobacco Control 8: 8–28.Google Scholar
  18. Geist, H., Otanez, M., and Kapito, J. (2006). The Tobacco Industry in Malawi: A Globalized Driver of Local Land Change. In Lambin, E. F., and Giest, H. (eds.), Landuse and Land Cover Change: Local Processes and Globalized Impacts. Springer, Berlin, pp. 251–268.Google Scholar
  19. German, L. (2011). Trade-Offs Associated with Large-Scale Land Acquisitions (in the Forest Frontier): Towards a Metric to Support Policy Decisions. Paper presented at the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, April 18–20, 2011.Google Scholar
  20. German, L., Gumbo, D., and Schoneveld, G. (2013a). Large-Scale Investments in Chitemene Farmland: Exploring the Marginal Lands Narrative in Zambia’s Northern Province. QA-Rivista dell’Associazione Rossi-Doria 2(2013): 27p.Google Scholar
  21. German, L., Schoneveld, G. C., and Mwangi, E. (2013b). Contemporary Processes of Large-Scale Land Acquisition in Sub-Saharan Africa: Legal Deficiency or Elite Capture of the Rule Of Law? World Development 48:1–18.Google Scholar
  22. Gossage, S. J. (1997). Land Use on the Tobacco Estates of Malawi. Report of the Land Use Survey of Tobacco Estates in Malawi 1996. Estate Land Utilisation Study (ELUS), Lilongwe.Google Scholar
  23. Government of Malawi (2002). Malawi National Land Policy. Ministry of Lands, Physical Planning and Survey, Lilongwe.Google Scholar
  24. He, D., and Barr, C. (2004). China’s Pulp and Paper Sector: An Analysis of Supply–Demand and Medium Term Projections. International Forestry Review 6(3–4): 254–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ILC (2010). Commercial Pressures on Land Blog. International Land Coalition, Washington, D.C. Available at: http://www.landcoalition.org/cpl-blog (accessed Jan. 5, 2010).Google Scholar
  26. Jaffee, S. (2003). Malawi’s Tobacco Sector: Standing on One Leg is Better Than None. Africa Region Working Paper Series 55. World Bank, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  27. Jomo, F., and Seria, N. (2010). Malawi to Boost Tobacco Export Earnings 20% as Quality Improves. Available at: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-03-31/malawi-to-boost-tobacco-export-earnings-20-as-quality-improves.html (accessed July 28, 2010).
  28. Koester, U., Olney, G., Mataya, C., and Chidzanja, T. (2004) Status and Prospects of Malawi’s Tobacco Industry: A Value Chain Analysis. A report prepared for the Emergency Drought Recovery Project, Ministry of Agriculture, Lilongwe.Google Scholar
  29. Maleta, M. (2004). Malawi – Tobacco Sector Performance Audit: Review of the Performance of Sector Institutions. Report Prepared for the Emergency Drought Recovery Project, Ministry of Agriculture, Lilongwe.Google Scholar
  30. Matthews, A., and Wilshaw, C. (1992). Fodya: The Malawi Tobacco Handbook. Central Africana Limited, Blantyre.Google Scholar
  31. Misana, S., Mung’ong’o, C., and Mukamuri, B. (1996). Miombo Woodlands in the Wider Context: Macroeconomic and Intersectoral Influences. In Campbell, B. (ed.), The Miombo in Transition: Woodlands and Welfare in Africa. Centre for International Forestry Research, Bogor.Google Scholar
  32. Moyo, S., O’Keefe, P., and Sill, M. (1993). The Southern African Environment: Profiles of the SADC Countries. ETC Foundation/Earthscan Publishers Ltd., London.Google Scholar
  33. Nsiku, N., and Botha, W. (2007). Tobacco Revenue Management: Malawi Case Study. International Institute for Sustainable Development, Winnipeg.Google Scholar
  34. Ota, A. B. (2001). Reconstructing Livelihood of the Displaced Families in Development Projects: Causes of Failure and Room for Reconstruction. Paper presented at the conference, ‘Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction: Lessons from Eastern India’, 25–27 September 2001. Available at: http://www.anthrobase.com/Txt/O/Ota_A_02.htm (accessed April 24, 2013).
  35. Otanez, M., Mamudu, H. M., and Glantz, S. A. (2009). Tobacco Companies’ Use of Developing Countries’ Economic Reliance on Tobacco to Lobby Against Global Tobacco Control: The Case of Malawi. American Journal of Public Health 99(10): 1759–1771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Poitras, J. (1999). Malawi tobacco industry and the environment. Trade and the Environment Database Case Study 252. Available at: http://www1.american.edu/ted/maltobac.htm (accessed Oct 4, 2013).
  37. Poulton, C., Kydd, J., and Kabame, D. (2007). Review of Experiences with Commercial Agriculture: Case Study on Malawi Tobacco. Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College, Kent.Google Scholar
  38. Takane, T. (2005). Risky Business: Smallholder Tobacco Production and Rural Livelihoods in Malawi. In Takane, T. (ed.), Current Issues in Rural Development in Malawi. IDE, Japan, pp. 133–174.Google Scholar
  39. Technoserve (2011). Outgrower Schemes—Enhancing Profitability. Technoserve Technical Brief. Technoserve, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  40. Tobacco Control Commission (2004). Production Figure for Flue-Cured and Burley Tobacco, 1978–2004. Tobacco Control Commission, Lilongwe. Available at: http://www.tccmw.com/contact_us.htm (accessed Sept 14, 2012).Google Scholar
  41. Tsonga, E. W. (2004) An Analysis of The Performance of Malawi’s Tobacco Production and Exports. A report prepared for the Emergency Drought Recovery Project, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Food Security, Lilongwe.Google Scholar
  42. UNCTAD (2008). Identifying Core Elements in Investment Agreements in the APEC Region. UNCTAD Series on International Investment Policies for Development. United Nations, New York.Google Scholar
  43. UNCTAD (2013). Global Value Chains and Development: Investment and Value Added Trade in the Global Economy. United Nations, New York.Google Scholar
  44. Wilson, D., Wilson, K., and Harvey, C. (2011). Small Farmers, Big Change: Scaling Up Impact in Smallholder Agriculture. Oxfam, Oxford.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. World Bank (1997). Causes and Consequences of Tropical Deforestation. Environmentally Sustainable Development Division, World Bank, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  46. World Bank (2005). Pathways to Greater Efficiency and Growth in The Malawi Tobacco Industry: A Poverty and Social Impact Analysis. World Bank, Washington D.C.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alois Mandondo
    • 1
  • Laura German
    • 2
  • Henry Utila
    • 3
  • Ustanzious Martin Nthenda
    • 3
  1. 1.Shanduko Trust, Centre for Agrarian and Environmental StudiesHarareZimbabwe
  2. 2.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  3. 3.Forest Research Institute of MalawiZombaMalawi

Personalised recommendations