The goal of the Working Paper Series is to provide preliminary and timely access to ongoing research being generated by, or closely relevant to, the Foundation’s work. Specifically, the series aims to enrich dialogue in areas of research related to: the science of smoking cessation and harm reduction; transformation of the tobacco and nicotine ecosystem; and agricultural transformation in tobacco-growing areas of the developing world. Contributed articles may come from a science and technology, socioeconomic, management, and/or policy perspective.
In the spirit of open discourse, readers are welcome to offer feedback on these papers to corresponding authors. Although the series is not subject to the same degree of rigor for peer review as in scientific journals, each paper undergoes at least one double blind peer review by an external expert. Any opinions expressed in the papers are those of the authors only and are not necessarily endorsed by the Foundation.
FSFW Working Paper No. 1
Rural Perspectives on Alternatives to Tobacco Farming and Environmental Degradation in Malawi
The paper offers a rich narrative based on a field survey of the rural perspective of multiple actors along the tobacco value chain in Malawi on the challenges and opportunities for seeking alternative livelihoods to tobacco farming. Tobacco farmers in Malawi are facing multiple challenges including falling tobacco prices and imperfections in the marketing and production systems. In spite of these drawbacks, the very existence of a regular tobacco auction and the support packages provided to farmers by the tobacco leaf companies make tobacco a more attractive option than alternative crops. Farmers have little attachment to tobacco itself but appreciate the relatively high prices the crop continues to achieve, the support provided and the relative certainty of making a sale. Even though alternative crops can be more profitable, the weakness of existing support services and markets make this risky.
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*For additional perspective on the Working Paper, please read the blog post by co-author Axel Klein – Alternatives to Tobacco Farming and Environmental Degradation in Malawi.