Malawi and tobacco, a review.

Our friends at ASH do like bashing British American Tobacco (BAT) for buying their tobacco from Malawi. So I thought it was time for a review.  The problem Africa has is that much of its agricultural produce attracts large tariffs from Europe under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and from the USA too,  so protecting home farmers.  Their produce is uncompetitive as a result.  Tobacco is a crop that grows well in Africa.  Other accusations from ASH include the use of child labour,  so let’s look at the facts, most are from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
Firstly how much do cigarettes a packet of Marlboro in Malawi costs US $2.98 which is the equivalent of 2 days wages for the average Malawian. It is unlikely that many smoke. On balance tobacco as a crop must be a Godsend to the economy. Also note that 91% of Malawian children go to school, most children are immunised and has a 73% literacy rate.
Malawi is of ten cited as a country where tobacco is grown for bashing tobacco companies. Here are a few facts on Malawi from UNICEF for you to quote.”Tobacco is Malawi’s largest industry and currently accounts for nearly 80% of the nation’s export earnings.”

http://www1.american.edu/TED/maltobac.htm

Basically without tobacco the government could not afford to look after its population with the medical programmes listed below.

Total adult literacy rate (%), 2005-2008* 73%

Primary school net enrolment/attendance (%), 2005-2009* 91%

Life expectancy at birth (years), 2009 54%

% of routine EPI vaccines financed by government 2009, total 100%

Immunization 2009, 1-year-old children immunized against: TB, corresponding vaccines: BCG 95%

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/mal … stics.html

Immunization 2009, 1-year-old children immunized against: DPT, corresponding vaccines: DPT1ß 97%

Immunization 2009, 1-year-old children immunized against: Polio, corresponding vaccines: polio3 93%

Immunization 2009, 1-year-old children immunized against: Measles, corresponding vaccines: measles 92%

Immunization 2009, 1-year-old children immunized against: HepB, corresponding vaccines: HepB3 93%

Immunization 2009, 1-year-old children immunized against: Hib, corresponding vaccines: Hib3 93%

Immunization 2009, % newborns protected against tetanus 87%

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/mal … stics.html

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One Response to Malawi and tobacco, a review.

  1. Pingback: Weekly suggested reading in Tobacco Harm Reduction – 6 July 2011 « Tobacco Harm Reduction: News & Opinions

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