The Tobacco Commission (The Commission), formerly known as Tobacco Control Commission (TCC), is a statutory corporate body formed in 1938 and established by an Act of Parliament with the mandate to regulate the production and marketing of tobacco in Malawi. The Commission was regulated by repealed acts of Chap 65:02 and Chap65:03 but now regulated by the Tobacco Industry Act of 2019 which became effective in February 2019.
Tobacco was introduced in Malawi (then Nyasaland) in 1889 by David Buchanan. The first export was made in 1893 where tobacco weighing 40 pounds was sold at an auction in London. Six years later, 2,240 pounds of tobacco were exported. Notable growers then were Messrs Hynde and Stark among others(1899).
From 1906 to 1925, the industry expanded rapidly with the coming in of A.F Barron, Wallace and later Conforzi. The first two bought their respective estates in Zomba and later expanded their operations to the central region where they established farms at Mbabvi and Lingadzi. Here, they experimented with tenancy system that helped to expand tobacco farming among natives.
The rapid expansion led to over production and deteriorating quality of the leaf. Authorities and all stakeholders saw the need to establish laws to govern and regulate the industry. Discussions on the same started in 1924 and the first new law called Tobacco Ordinance was enacted in 1926.
The tobacco crisis of 1930s that saw overproduction of the crop and a sharp drop in prices prompted authorities to form the Tobacco Marketing Ordinance (1937) that succeeded the Tobacco Ordinance. Later, in 1938, the Tobacco Control Board was formed and was followed by Auction Nyasaland Limited.
Headed by the Board of Commissioners, the Commission falls under the Ministry of Agriculture and food security.
With its head office at Kanengo in Lilongwe and regional offices in Limbe, Lilongwe, Kasungu and Mzuzu, the Commission subscribes to principles of good corporate governance, openness, integrity and accountability.