“Tobacco Slave”: How Farmers Grow Debt While Tobacco Companies Grow Profit

October 26, 2023

The health harms of tobacco use are well documented, but far fewer people are aware that even growing tobacco is a harmful undertaking—both physically and financially.

Farmers growing tobacco under the contract system often become trapped in exploitative agreements that leave them with very little negotiating power and far lower profits than they were led to believe. Some farmers even end the growing season in debt to the company they contract with. Meanwhile, major international tobacco companies, which sell products using tobacco grown under these conditions, continue to rake in billions of dollars in profits annually.

Download the brief or watch the film “Tobacco Slave” to learn more and hear first-hand accounts from farmers in Malawi.

Tobacco farmers are sometimes left in debt to tobacco companies at the end of their growing season