Tobacco. SJ Dodgson. MJoTA 2014 v8n1 p0206
The tobacco plant has a short growing cycle and is harvested and without too much being done to it, can be transformed into cigarettes, cigars, snuff, increasing its value many times. If it was more expensive to grow or be converted into a consumable form, it would probably not be the killer that it is. Tobacco grows on land that can be used for other crops that can be converted to value-added consumables, but few other crops are as easy to grow or make so much profit. Part of the profit comes from free or cheap labor.
If tobacco and its manufactured products were benign, or medicinal, maybe consumers could advocate for higher wages for those involved in their production. Which is what is going on with clothing manufacture in Bangladesh. But smoking is a killer, and so is even being around a smoker.
I prepared this page after updated the page on Malawi. I tried to find out how outsiders are exploiting Malawi, why is this country with rich soil and a climate made for agriculture so poor? Is the answer tobacco, its biggest export?
Have foreign investors come into Malawi, negotiated low or no taxes, bought land for almost nothing, filled the land with tobacco plants and hired local Malawians to grow the tobacco at sub-poverty wages? Transported it out of the country, perhaps to a cigarette factory in Nigeria, or South Africa, and added up the profits while all over Africa, cancers of lungs and colon are increasing? I believe so. Watch the videos.