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Despite worldwide tobacco decline, economy can thrive


Malawi’s economy can thrive despite a worldwide decline in tobacco demand and production.

Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI) is working with smallholder tobacco farmers to facilitate the development of complementary structured value chains to make the agriculture sector globally competitive.

“As the global demand for tobacco decreases, we believe it’s imperative to support efforts to diversify economies and lessen the reliance of smallholder farmers on tobacco.

This is particularly true in Malawi where tobacco accounts for over 60 percent of the country’s total annual earnings and 13 percent of the economy as measured by the gross domestic product.” said Jim Lutzweiler, VP, Agriculture and Livelihoods, Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.

One of the ATI’s first actions was to issue a request for expressions of interest to operate and manage a new Center for Agricultural Transformation in Malawi.

The Center’s goal is ultimately to transform the lives of Malawian smallholder tobacco farmers by leveraging innovation in agricultural science and technology.

In October, the ATI issued two requests for proposals (RFP) in support of additional projects in Malawi.

“The diversification of smallholder farmers can only succeed through inclusive business models that effectively connect them to markets, finance, and technology in ways that provide much greater economic value to all actors in the ecosystem,” said Eduardo Tugendhat, Director of Thought Leadership at Palladium.

The first RFP asks eligible private sector firms, research institutions, other interested entities, and partnerships or consortia to submit proposals that present viable market-led solutions aimed at solving current challenges for transforming smallholder agricultural livelihoods in Malawi.

The second RFP seeks to engage in a 3-year preferred collaboration with qualified research partners to provide independent program evaluation and decision-focused research support to the ATI. The preferred partners will help nurture and promote the use of rigorous evidence by the ATI to improve its impact on smallholder tobacco farmers in Malawi.

The ATI is a core pillar of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the purpose of improving global health by ending smoking in this generation. Recognizing that the Foundation’s mission entails an accelerated decline in global tobacco demand, the ATI aims to diversify tobacco-dependent economies.

The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the purpose of improving global health by ending smoking in this generation.

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