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50 Tambala 1976, Malawi

in Krause book Number: 13a
Years of issue: 31.01.1976
Edition: 7 060 307
Signatures: Governor: Mr. John Zenus Ungapake Tembo (in office 1971 - 1984)
Serie: 1976 - 1984 Issue
Specimen of: 31.01.1976
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 125 x 69
Printer: Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company Limited, New Malden

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50 Tambala 1976




Black rooster - the logo of Hastings Kamuzu Banda's "Malawi Congress Party" (MCP).

The name kwacha derives from the chewa and Bemba word for "dawn", while tambala translates as "rooster" in Nyanja. The tambala was so named because a rooster announces "dawn".


50 Tambala 1976

Hastings Kamuzu Banda

The engraving on banknote is based, presumably, on this photo. The photo made in July 1960, in London, United Kingdom.

In July 1960, he joined Dr. Banda, Orton Chirwa, Aleke Banda and other prominent Africans at the Nyasaland Constitutional Conference in London. It was here that British Government decided that Nyasaland (Malawi) should become self-governing by early 1963, and that Banda, should become Prime Minister. In 1961, Chiume was elected MP for Rumphi and was made Minister of Education.

Hastings Kamuzu Banda (c. March or April 1898 - 25 November 1997) was the leader of Malawi from 1961 to 1994 (for the first three years of his rule, until it achieved independence in 1964, Malawi was the British protectorate of Nyasaland). After receiving much of his education overseas, Banda returned to his home country (then British Nyasaland) to speak against colonialism and advocate for independence. In 1963, he was formally appointed prime minister of Nyasaland and led the country to independence as Malawi a year later. Two years later, he proclaimed Malawi a republic with himself as president. He consolidated power and later declared Malawi a one-party state under the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). In 1970, the MCP made him the party's President for Life. In 1971, he became President for Life of Malawi itself.

As a leader of the pro-Western bloc in Africa, he received support from the West during the Cold War. He generally supported women's rights, improved the country's infrastructure, and maintained a good educational system relative to other African countries, but he also presided over one of the most repressive regimes in Africa. His government regularly tortured and murdered political opponents. Human rights groups estimate that at least 6,000 people were killed, tortured and jailed without trial. According to at least one estimate, as many as 18,000 people were killed during his rule. He also faced scorn for maintaining full diplomatic relations with apartheid-era South Africa.

By 1993, he was facing international pressure and widespread protest. A referendum ended his one-party state, and a special assembly ended his life-term presidency and stripped him of most of his powers. Banda ran for president in the democratic elections which followed and was defeated.

He died in South Africa in 1997. His legacy remains controversial, with some hailing him as a national and African hero, while others denounce him as a tyrant and as a corrupt leader.


Centered is the view of Lake Nyasa with the lake boat (Dugout) with three fishermen on it. On the background is the mountain range and getting up, at dawn, sun.

Lake Malawi, also known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania and Lago Niassa in Mozambique, is an African Great Lake and the southernmost lake in the East African Rift system, located between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. It is the ninth largest lake in the world and the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa. It is home to more species of fish than any other lake, including about 1000 species of cichlids. The Mozambique portion of the lake was officially declared a reserve by the Government of Mozambique on June 10, 2011, and in Malawi a portion of the lake is included in the Lake Malawi National Park. Lake Malawi is a meromictic lake; permanent stratification and the toxic-anoxic boundary are maintained by moderately small chemical and thermal gradients.

The Portuguese trader Candido José da Costa Cardoso was the first European to visit the lake in 1846. David Livingstone reached the lake in 1859, and named it "Lake Nyasa". "Nyasa" in language of Yao people means "Lake".


A dugout or dugout canoe is a boat made from a hollowed tree trunk. Other names for this type of boat are logboat and monoxylon. Monoxylon (μονόξυλον) (pl: monoxyla) is Greek - mono- (single) + ξύλον xylon (tree) - and is mostly used in classic Greek texts. In Germany they are called einbaum ("one tree" in English). Some, but not all, pirogues are also constructed in this manner.

The well-watered tropical rainforest and woodland regions of sub-Saharan Africa provide both the waterways and the trees for dugout canoes, which are commonplace from the Limpopo River basin in the south through East and Central Africa and across to West Africa. African Teak is the timber favoured for their construction, though this comprises a number of different species, and is in short supply in some areas. Dugouts are paddled across deep lakes and rivers or punted through channels in swamps (makoro) or in shallow areas, and are used for transport, fishing and hunting, including, in the past, the very dangerous hunting of hippopotamus. Dugouts are called pirogues in Francophone areas of Africa.

palm tree

Centered, above, is the branch of African oil palm.

The Elaeis guineensis Jacq. (1763) is native to tropical Africa (Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zaire), where it grows at the margins of the pluvial forests and along the courses of water.

The name of the genus comes from the Greek “élaion”= oil, the name of the species refers to one of its countries of origin.

The most used common names are: “palma da olio” (Italian); “African oil palm”, “macaw fat”, “oil palm”, “palm kernel oil” (English); “palmier à huile”, “palmier à huile d’Afrique” (French); Afrikanische Ölpalme”, “Ölpalme” (German); “corojo de Guinea”, “palmera de aceite” (Spanish); “caiaué”, “dendezeiro”, “palmeira dendém”, “palmeira andim” (Portuguese); “mchikichi”, “miwesi”, “mjen- ga” (Swahili).

It shows a solitary trunk tall up to 20 metres and with a diameter of about 40 cm, with the foliar bases persisting for long time on the younger part. The crown, thick and impressive, is formed by pinnate leaves, curved on the terminal part, four metres long, which persist for long time; the pinnulae, of a glossy green colour, are long up to about 70 cm and are inserted with various angles on the rachis; the petiole, thickly fibrous on the base, is provided with short triangular thorns on the margins.

Monoecious plant, it develops separate, but on the same plant, male and female inflorescences between the leaves, compact and long up to about 30 cm. The fructification is abundant and continuous all over the year; the fruits are ovoid, long about 4 cm, usually of a blackish colour, and orange-red at the base. It reproduces by seed, which germinates in 6-8 months, if opportunely previously treated and and with bottom heat.

The cultivation of this plant for the oil production, has had during the very last years a remarkable increase, such as to overcome any other vegetable source. This is due to the copious and uninterrupted fructification and the high percentage of oil present in the pulp (up to the 65%) and in the endosperm (up to the 50%). The refined oil palm and its by-products are widely utilized not only in the alimentary field and in the making of products for the personal hygiene (soaps, cleansing agents, etc.), but also in countless and varied industrial products. Finally, it is already utilized, and a further increase is expected, as fuel (biodiesel).

The plant has also a moderate utilization as ornament, limited to the tropical and warm-humid subtropical climate, as they do not bear temperatures even if just close to 0 °C. (Dr. Giuseppe MAZZA)

Denominations in numerals are in lower left and top right corners. In words centered, above.


50 Tambala 1976

cotton harvesting cotton harvesting

Cotton harvesting, presumably in Karonga region. Northern Malawi. The economy of the area is based on cotton, rice and maize production along the lake and on coffee and livestock in the west.

With the economic potential to significantly contribute to rural poor in Malawi, the cotton sector could conceivably be seen as a poverty panacea. Unfortunately, cotton has been a troubled agricultural product for the country, and a number of issues continue to impede its value in the market place.

With lint contributing at least 30% of volume, cotton is the fourth largest agricultural export after tobacco, sugar and tea, engaging over 300,000 farming families. The sector also supplies crude and refined cotton oil and cotton cake to domestic markets for human and animal consumption respectively. The history of cotton in Malawi, in common with many smallholder-based production systems globally, has been dominated by attempts to link input supply with output production at the quality and volume required to compete successfully in a crowded and volatile global market.

In 2011, contract farming based on ginner supply of inputs ended and was replaced by the contract-based system for input provision to registered producers. This was made possible with the Government of Malawi’s Cotton Up-scaling initiative that injected MK 1.6bn (US $10m) and other resources into the sector in an attempt to expand cotton production into non-traditional growing areas so as to diversify the economy beyond tobacco production.

The main growing areas are in four agro-ecological zones suitable for cotton production, namely low altitude (Shire Valley), lakeshore, medium altitude and high altitude. Cotton is grown principally for lint production, with oil and cake as valuable by-products. The global cotton lint market, currently around 24 million metric tonnes (mmT), is driven by the dynamics in the major consuming and producing countries. After a major price peak in 2011-12, when global production was very low, prices have stabilized with production in 2012-13 and 2013-14 marginally outstripping demand.

The 42,000mT of cotton purchased by ginners in season 2012-13 was worth US$26 million(m), while the 16,500mT of lint derived, priced at US$0.80/pound (lb) was valued at around US$29.1m. The value of the estimated production of 24,300mT of cottonseed at an average price of US$250/mT was around US$6m. Based upon a cake:oil:wastage output ratio of 85:12:3, it is estimated that approximately 21,000mT of cake was produced, worth around US$2.5m at an average of MK50/kg.9 On a similar basis, approximately 3m litres (ltr) of oil was produced, valued at US$5m at an average of US$1.67 (MK650/kg.).

However, uplifting the cotton sector would directly contribute to increased income and employment for the poor, the latter particularly for men and women who work as casual workers in the ginneries, spinning and weaving factory, oil processing plants, seed de-linting plants, and on smallholdings and commercial farms. While women have some influence on expenditure, men generally control the income generated by cotton, except for the estimated 25% of farming households that are female-headed.

In the Shire Valley, cotton income is used to buy maize, which does not grow well in these areas, therefore, cotton growing is explicitly a means to secure food. It is ‘lumpy’ income, meaning a whole year’s crop is sold in one or two transactions. There are few formal savings opportunities, so income may be invested in livestock/poultry to be exchanged or sold for food at a later date. Additional cotton production also means more seed for oil processing, which can result in more oil available to rural households.

Despite its potential for pro-poor growth, the future of the cotton sector faces numerous market failure questions. The current seed multiplication model based on smallholders is operated by a monopsony of two suppliers, is expensive and fails to supply the required levels of seed, resulting in importing seed at even higher cost. Input (seed and chemical) and extension markets are distorted by the managed input supply system with insufficient inputs for some, often experienced, growers and oversupply to other, often less experienced, growers relative to land area to be planted. The monopsonistic procurement within the managed input supply system has substantially reduced the availability of extra seed/chemicals for open market sales, which have to compete with ‘free’ inputs. This is exacerbated by the lack of innovative rural distribution models for chemicals that could take advantage of income post sale rather than rely only on sales at time of planting/use. The lack of inputs particularly affects more experienced serious growers, who have had difficulty obtaining the necessary inputs. Overall this input supply gap contributes to declining overall productivity, quality and grower income, resulting in a cycle of low returns and low investment.

The levy system also incentivises under-reporting of processing volumes, resulting in under-collection of the levy thereby reducing the managed input system’s sustainability and supply of inputs for the ensuing season. Firms, particularly smaller oil processors, facing credit constraints and missing information, continue to use inefficient machines and have to handle poor quality seed cotton, as well as contamination with poly-propylene in the lint. As a result, the margins of processors and exporters are reduced by higher than necessary processing costs. These systemic inefficiencies and additional costs, in turn, reduce the price that ginners are willing and able to pay farmers.

Subsequently, international buyers lack confidence in the quality of Malawi’s cotton lint, reflected in a general price penalty/reduction i.e. from an estimated $0.88/lb to $0.80/lb. These market system volatilities are necessary to simultaneously increase smallholder productivity and exporter competitiveness. On the supply side, facilitating smallholder access to certified cotton seed and reliable chemical inputs will lead to increased utilization of quality planting materials and better control of pest and diseases, thereby increasing productivity and returns. Combined with facilitating access to information on good agronomic practices (GAPs), smallholder farmers can potentially double their current yields and improve the quality of cotton seed.

On the demand side, increased margins will be derived primarily from higher prices due to better quality lint, helping to secure the export market, and lowering of costs through an improved tax environment, particularly for formal oil products. This will ultimately result in higher incomes for poor households engaged in cotton production. (

Denominations in numerals are in lower left and top right corners. In words in lower right corner.