PMI gives $2.5 million grant to improve living conditions in tobacco farm communities in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania..

September 28, 2010 - Total LandCare (TLC), a Malawian registered NGO (non-government organization) announced today that it has received a $2.5 million grant from Philip Morris International (PMI) to continue a multi-year program, started in 2001 to improve living conditions in tobacco farm communities in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.

That announcement was made today by TLC during an on-campus event celebrating TLC’s partnership with Washington State University (WSU) in carrying out its programs in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. During today’s event, TLC also unveiled a series of newly produced ads for print media which highlight the issues of poverty, deforestation and scarcity of clean water in Malawi.

Since 2001, PMI has provided more than $14 million in funding to support WSU/TLC ENRL programs in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. To-date, these programs have directly impacted more than 760 thousand people in 6,660 villages. More than 280 shallow wells have been installed in 300 villages and are now supplying fresh water to over 62,000 people; more than 75 million trees have been planted and 6,700 hectares of forest regenerated. Additionally, beginning in 2009, a five year project to construct 100 fully-equipped new schools was initiated and to-date 36 schools have been constructed benefitting 3,600 children.

“We have been supporting TLC`s efforts since 2001 because they are making a measurable difference in improving the living conditions of farmers and their families in Southeast Africa,” said Andrew White, Vice President Contributions for PMI. “This year’s grant will allow TLC to expand their programs to help an additional 50,000 farm families in Malawi and 6,000 farm families in each Mozambique and Tanzania,” added White.

The tobacco industry is big in Malawi, with the southern African country being the largest producer of burley tobacco.

Malawi, a country almost entirely dependent on tobacco for government revenue, employment and development financing. After the government, the tobacco industry is the second largest employer. It is responsible for 75 per cent of foreign earnings and contributes 10 per cent of the country's gross domestic product. The crop has been so eagerly embraced by farmers in the region that they call it the "golden leaf." ('Golden leaf' loses its lustre International tobacco controls spurring production shifts by Naututu Okhoya and Gumisai Mutume, Africa Renewal, Vol.18 #3 (October 2004), page

Malawi - how can this country survive without tobacco??

At least 80 percent of Malawians directly or indirectly depend on the industry that contributes to at least 23 percent of all tax collections and 30 percent of GDP.
TLC’s program for Southeast Africa, known as Enhancing Rural Livelihoods (ENRL) was launched in 1999. The ENRL program was created with the aim of addressing and alleviating the most pressing issues facing Malawi: poverty, deforestation, sustainable agriculture, clean water, sanitation and education, with a focus on community-based approaches to increase agricultural production, food security and incomes within a context that ensures sound management of their natural resources. In 2008, with additional funding from PMI, the ENRL program was extended to Mozambique and Tanzania.

In speaking about the ENRL program during today’s event, Zwide Jere of TLC said, “The collaborative partnership with WSU is focusing on some of the most crucial problems in the region, such as water shortage, deforestation and energy sources availability, child labor and access to education.”

It looks like WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Alliance is being outsmarted: African COMESA countries against WHO's attempt to ban ingredients used in blended tobacco..

Reference: Malawian NGO Total LandCare receives $2.5 million grant from Philip Morris International, News Release PMI, 9/24/2010.

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