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Life III Series
Up in Smoke

Dependence on tobacco crops and manipulation by the tobacco industry has stunted the economy of Malawi.

A printer-friendly version of this page 27 minutes
Directed by Martin Otanez and Christopher Walker
Produced by Television Trust for the Environment
Series Editor: Jenny Richards

In the southern African country of Malawi tobacco is the major export crop, responsible for 70% of all export earnings. Agriculture is the mainstay of Malawi's economy, accounting for over 90% of GDP. Out of a total population of 11 million, the majority of Malawians are farmers, and seven million owe their livelihoods to the tobacco industry.

But economic dependency on tobacco has not brought the country wealth. According to the World Bank, over 60% of Malawians live below the poverty line, with limited access to land, little education, and poor health. Despite the diminished returns from tobacco growing, the government has actually increased the land under cultivation. Malawians are now questioning if the wealth promised from growing tobacco is really an illusion.

With the support of The Rockefeller Foundation.

The other titles in this series are:

1. The Road from Rio - Questions the relevance and success of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

2. Danger: Children at Work - Guatemalan agencies try to discourage child labor and fireworks production by poor families.

3. The Trade Trap - Ghanaian farmers struggle to get a foothold in the international market.

4. Kosovo: Rebuilding the Dream - Assesses the success of UN efforts in rebuilding Kosovo.

5. The Perfect Famine - Examines the causes of, and solutions to, severe famine conditions in Malawi.

6. It Takes a Village - A cyclone in Bangladesh results in the construction of an experimental community health center.

7. Seeing is Believing - Zambia begins a nationwide program to deliver Vitamin A to its population.

8. Cheated of Childhood - The International Labor Organization tries to rescue and rehabilitate the street children of St. Petersburg.

9. Patents and Patients - India battles HIV/AIDS using generic drugs.

10. The Doctor's Story - The US debate over abortion has severe consequences for health care in rural Nepal.

11. Sowing Seeds of Hunger - The AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa has crippled the agricultural community while forcing children to undertake the responsibilities of farming.

Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2003     Copyright Date: 2002
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-128-2     VHS ISBN: 1-59458-011-1

"Up In Smoke is concise, yet it fully and fairly analyzes the impact of globalization in this setting. It is an excellent film for sparking debate among younger audiences, and is highly recommended to anyone high school age and over."
Educational Media Reviews Online

DVD $195
VHS $195
DVD $45
VHS $45
Reduced rates for activist and grassroots groups. Please inquire.

Up in Smoke

Links (The producer's web site) (Producer's resources)

Awards and Festivals
Honorable Mention, Columbus International Film & Video Festival

African Studies
Business Practices
Developing World
International Studies
International Trade

Related Titles

The Seattle Syndrome
Were the WTO protesters right in their effort to protect workers and the environment from exploitation?

India Inhales
Activists combat tobacco companies that target India.

Holy Smoke
Buddhist monks lead anti-tobacco campaign in Cambodia.

The Debt Police
Uganda seeks external debt relief and fights internal corruption.

The Philadelphia Story
Globalized economy affects American jobs.

The Bomb Under the World
What are the consequences of consumerism taking hold in developing countries like India?

The Human Race
Is the western model of global development sustainable in a finite environment?

Democracy à la Maude
A Canadian woman leads the fight against unjust corporate globalization, and for social justice.

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