The World Food Prize Foundation

2018 Side Events

Agricultural Transformation for African Tobacco Farmers

10/17/2018 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Council Bluffs Room, Marriott Hotel
Karen Newman

RSVPs are requested.

Agricultural Transformation for African Tobacco Farmers

The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’s Agricultural Transformation Initiative works in partnership with tobacco farmers to support their efforts to transition to alternative crops and livelihoods. Initiatives include identifying agricultural value chains and business opportunities that can diversify and increase farmer income and drive economic growth, as well as catalyzing investment, extension and entrepreneurship to support the development and adoption of alternative crop and livelihood options. To fulfill these ambitions, the Foundation is partnering with farmers, businesses, academia, governmental entities, research and extension institutions, and philanthropic, nonprofit, and community organizations.

The initial focus is Malawi, where 300,000 farmers are engaged in tobacco farming and the economy is highly dependent on tobacco export earnings. Many tobacco farmers have diversified production to some degree and there are several well developed farmer organizations. The Foundation has brought together a distinguished panel of experts to discuss the changes desired by farmers and potential pathways for success. We welcome Borlaug Dialogue attendees to join the discussion.




Here are some of the topics for discussion: What are the incentives for Malawian farmers and the government to transition to other crops and livelihoods? What are the challenges of transitioning farmland used for growing tobacco to other crops? What examples of value-added agricultural and livestock systems and alternative livelihoods have been or could be successful in Malawi? What critical resources, elements, partnerships, collaborations, and investments are required?

Opening Remarks – Mr. James Lutzweiler, Vice President for Agriculture & Livelihoods, Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

Panel Discussion, Question & Answer Format—Moderated by Mr. Dyborn Charlie Chibonga, AGRA (A Green Revolution for Africa) Regional Program Head for Malawi and Mozambique


Prof. Umezuruike Linus Opara, PhD, CEng, CFS—Distinguished Professor & DST-NRF South African Research Chair in Postharvest Technology, Stellenbosch University; 2015 Laureate of the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Continental Scientific Award in Life & Earth Science; President, International Commission of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering.

Ms. Alice Kachere—Malawi smallholder farmer who produces tobacco, groundnuts, soybeans, and maize and raises pigs; National Chairperson, Rural Women Assembly; Board Chairperson, National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM).

Mr. Davies Botha—Malawi smallholder farmer who produces tobacco, maize, groundnuts, and soybeans and raises goats and poultry; Chairperson, NASFAM Kasitu Association and Rumphi NASFAM Joint Board.

Ms. Maness Nkhata—Managing Director, Kakoma Estate, Malawi; she grows soybeans, sunflowers, tobacco, and cassava and works with 3,411 smallholder farmers, mostly women and youth, on an outgrower scheme.

Dr. Agnes Mbachi Mwangwela—Associate Professor of Food Science and Dean of Faculty of Food and Human Sciences, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources; farmer—her family’s farm in Kasungu, Malawi, was transitioned from growing tobacco to producing maize, groundnuts, popcorn and hibiscus, and beekeeping and cattle raising.

Prof. Richard Mkandawire, PhD—Chair of Malawi’s National Planning Commission; Professor, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Director of the Africa-based Secretariat of the Alliance for African Partnership at Michigan State University.

Dr. Francis Mkanda, PhD—Associate, Southern African Foundation for Agriculture and Climate Change. Previously, Technical Adviser on a UNDP/Global Environmental Facility project in Tanzania for Mainstreaming Sustainable Forest Management, which encouraged farmers to adopt high-value crops (sunflower, peanuts, and horticulture) as alternatives to tobacco since tobacco contributes to forest degradation and deforestation.

Mr. Dmitri Giannakis, MSc—CEO (Joint), Meridian Consolidated Investments Ltd., which operates across Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to manufacture, distribute, and trade agricultural commodities and provide extension to 12,000 farmers through its Farm Services Unit. Previously, he was Director for Flue Acres Estate (originally producing tobacco but converted to maize seed and macadamia nut production), and Demeter Agriculture (producing dry bean seed, maize seed, and cattle).


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