During the past century tobacco production and marketing in Nyasaland/Malawi has undergone periods of dynamism similar to changes since the early 1990s. This article highlights three recurrent patterns. First, estate owners have fostered or constrained peasant/smallholder production dependent on complementarities or competition with estates. Second, the rapid expansion of peasant/smallholder production has led to large multiplier effects in tobacco-rich districts. Third, such expansion has also led to re-regulation of the marketing of peasant/smallholder tobacco by the (colonial) state. The article concludes by assessing whether recent changes in the industry such as district markets, contract farming with smallholders, and the importance of credence factors have historical precedents, or are new developments in the industry.
Journal of Eastern African Studies, 2013, Vol 7, Issue 4, p. 691-712